Death penalty sought in dismembered body case

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Memphis man charged with killing and dismembering his girlfriend with a circular saw has been indicted by a grand jury, and the prosecutor in the case says he’ll seek the death penalty.

James Hawkins, 31, is charged in the slaying and dismemberment of Charlene Gaither, on Feb. 9 in their apartment. Her body was found five days later just south of Memphis in north Mississippi.

The couple’s 12-year-old daughter told authorities she witnessed her mother’s murder and was forced to help dismember her body and dispose of the parts. She said her father threatened to kill her if she did not cooperate.

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Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced the indictment Friday.

Gibbons also said his office filed notice to seek the death penalty because Hawkins has prior violent felony convictions and because of the grisly nature of the crime.