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April 30, 2015

DAILYKENN.com -- The individual accused of shooting Barbara Exum to death is scheduled to be tried.

Brandon Hawkins is accused of shooting Exum during a robbery of a Papa Johns' restaurant in Oxford, Alabama.

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A Calhoun County judge scheduled a December trial for a Gadsden man accused of killing an Oxford restaurant employee.

Brandon Hawkins' trial is set to begin December 7, exactly four years to the day after his arrest for the September 9, 2011, shooting of Barbara Exum.  Investigators said Hawkins murdered Exum during a robbery at the Papa John's on Snow Street in Oxford, where the 56-year-old woman was an assistant manager.

Hawkins was 21 at the time of the shooting.  He is accused of going into the Papa John's around 11:30 p.m. and striking one employee in the head with a handgun.  Police said the suspect then grabbed Exum and demanded money before shooting her in the chest.

Hawkins is charged with capital murder as the killing involved a robbery.  He also faces a second-degree assault charge for striking the other employee.

He pled guilty in January to first-degree robbery of the HR Food Mart in Anniston.  That incident happened one week after the Papa John's robbery.

Calhoun County district attorney Brian McVeigh said the four years between Hawkins' arrest and his prosecution is not unusual, as there is more work to be done in capital murder cases.  There are additional pretrial activities involving evaluations, expert witnesses, and filings.

"We have other capital cases that were in line and we have to attempt to take care of the older cases first.  We unfortunately had a great number of capital cases.  We have been slowly moving those cases and it just takes a while," McVeigh said.

"As long as that defendant is incarcerated and not in a position where they can go out and hurt anybody else--and they are not asking for a speedy trial--then it just takes as long as it takes," he said.

"I would rather be consistent in the way we handle cases, get them to trial, comply with all the requirements of capital litigation, and get a conviction that's going to stand, than be in a hurry."

Donquavious Russell, 21, is also charged with capital murder in this investigation.



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