Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of GORDON FRANCIS, 54, for the murder of James Hawkins, who was found dead in his apartment in Chelsea in 1993. The case remained unsolved for 19 years, but investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Police Department’s Cold Case Squad re-interviewed witnesses and used new forensic techniques. The defendant is charged with Murder in the Second Degree.[1]

“This was a horrific crime that left the victim’s family seeking justice for nearly two decades,” said District Attorney Vance. “Through the persistence of the prosecutors in my Office, the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, and the Medical Examiner, the defendant will finally face the criminal justice system.”

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, on August 15, 1993, James Hawkins, a 50-year-old family counselor for the Regent Family Residence, was found dead in his apartment in Chelsea. He had been stabbed 25 times, and suffered wounds to his neck, chest, and abdomen, including perforations of the heart, lungs, aorta, and external jugular vein. The victim also suffered defensive wounds and cuts to both sides of his mouth, gums, and tongue. Investigators found a trail of blood leading from the victim’s fourth floor apartment, down several flights of stairs, and to the front door of the building that opened out onto the street.

With the advent of new investigative techniques in 2010, the DA’s Office and the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad took additional steps. Their work, which included the re-interviews of numerous witnesses, ultimately led to today’s indictment.

Assistant District Attorneys James Lin and Annie Siegel are handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Melissa Mourges, Chief of the Forensic Sciences/Cold Case Unit, and William Mahoney, Chief of Trial Bureau 60. Trial Preparation Assistants Devorah Toren and Meagan Moran assisted in the case. Detective Wendell Stradford, N.Y.P.D. Cold Case Apprehension Unit, and Detective Siobhan Berry, D.A.N.Y. Forensic Science/Cold Case Unit, handled the re-investigation of this matter.

Defendant information:

GORDON FRANCIS, D.O.B. 4/20/1958
Queens, N.Y.

• Murder in the Second Degree, a class A felony, 1 count

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.