A Florida man broke into a nursing home and suffocated a 95-year-old resident — the conclusion of a years-long plot that he described to police as achieving his “life goal.”
William Hawkins, 47, was being held without bail Thursday at the St. Lucie County Jail after being charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 5 slaying of Robert Morell at the Tiffany Hall Nursing & Rehab Center in Port St. Lucie, TCPalm.com reports.
“I’ve accomplished my life goal, OK?” Hawkins told detectives while confessing to the premeditated killing, according to an arrest report obtained by the website. “Whatever happens to me after, that’s fine.”
Hawkins, who was jailed the day after Morell’s death on other theft charges, confessed to the killing to his sister in jail, police said. He told her he had been planning the killing for years and used Morell’s long-term girlfriend — whom he had also been dating for about five months — to get close to his victim.
It’s unclear precisely why Hawkins wanted Morell dead. He told his sister that Morell wrote a book about him, but case documents do no indicate that title or whether the victim had written any books, the newspaper reports.
Hawkins, who has addresses in Vero Beach and Fort Pierce, was already a suspect in Morell’s death because he was on the center’s visitor list and matched the description of a man staffers saw on top of Morell just prior to his death, TCPalm.com reports.
“Police learned a nurse walked past the male patient’s room when she noticed an unknown male suspect sitting on top of the patient’s chest, holding a pillow over his face,” investigators wrote.
The suspect fled, but detectives later learned that Morell’s girlfriend of 15 years had called the nursing home just hours before the resident’s death to warn employees not to let Hawkins into the facility, police said.
Hawkins was arrested the day after Morell’s death on other charges, including the theft of a Cadillac belonging to Morell’s unidentified girlfriend. But investigators continued to eye him in the man’s death as he was in custody, the newspaper reports.
Hawkins’ sister then told police she thought she could get her brother to talk about the slaying if he was involved, leading him to eventually confess as she wore a recording device for investigators, records show.
“Did you put the pillows over his face?” Hawkins’ sister asked.
“Yeah, I did,” he replied, case documents show.
Hawkins initially planned to kill Morell with a “cocktail” he planned to administer via injection. He also described how he felt after taking the man’s life, records show.
“[Let’s] say in your life you wanted to climb Mount Everest, OK? And all your life you trained and trained and trained to climb Mount Everest. OK?” Hawkins said, according to records cited by the newspaper. “And finally you climbed it, in all your life, finally you made it to the top, when you made it to the top, how would you feel?”
Source: New York Post