Iraq War veteran found murdered in Rogersville; two suspects charged

Jeff Bobo • Mar 16, 2013 at 11:26 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Two suspects were in custody Saturday after the discovery of a grisly murder scene involving an Iraq War veteran, who was apparently beaten and stabbed to death for his medication.

At 1:21 p.m. Saturday, officers from the Rogersville Police Department were called to Boyd Street Apartments after a family member checking on the victim, Roger Hawkins, 52, found him dead.

RPD Chief Doug Nelson said the murder scene was grisly beyond description.

Hawkins lived in a downstairs apartment. Nelson said physical evidence led investigators to a second-story apartment, which is the home of an uncle of Austin Scott Price, 18, 202 Thorpes Chapel Road, Rogersville. Nelson said Price had been staying with his uncle recently.

Price and his alleged accomplice, Samuel Wade Hirsch, 22, 106 Riley Lane, Rogersville, allegedly fled the murder scene in a vehicle that broke down on Route 66 near Rogersville.

Price reportedly got a ride back to the apartment complex, but by that time police had made the connection between him and the upstairs apartment, and he was detained for questioning almost immediately upon returning.

Hirsch, who had stayed with the vehicle, was taken into custody there.

Upon being questioned, both suspects allegedly admitted to their part in the murder and robbery of Hawkins.

“He appeared to have been beaten and stabbed several times,” Nelson said. “Robbery appears to be the motive as several items of value were taken.”

Nelson added that Hawkins was disabled and the suspects allegedly knew he had medication in the home. Some firearms and cash were also allegedly taken.

Nelson said it's his understanding that Hawkins was a veteran having served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both were charged with felony first-degree murder and being held without bond in the Hawkins County jail pending arraignment Monday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Third Judicial District Attorney General’s Office participated in the investigation.

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