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UPDATE: $1 million bond for suspects in murder of Hawkins County veteran

March 18th, 2013 3:58 pm by Jeff Bobo

UPDATE: $1 million bond for suspects in murder of Hawkins County veteran

Austin Scott Price, 18, and Samuel Wade Hirsch, 22, both of Rogersville

Updated at 8:20 p.m.


ROGERSVILLE — Two men accused of beating and stabbing Rogersville veteran Roger Hawkins to death Saturday while attempting to steal Hawkins’ pain medication appeared in Hawkins County Sessions Court for arraignment on Monday.


Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross set a $1 million bond each for Austin Scott Price, 18, and Samuel Wade Hirsch, 22, both of Rogersville.


Both defendants are charged with felony first-degree murder, which means the first-degree murder allegedly occurred during the commission of a felony.


Ross also appointed attorneys for both suspects. The public defender was appointed to represent Price, and attorney Douglas Payne was appointed to represent Hirsch.


A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 29 at 1 p.m. for both Price and Hirsch.


Both allegedly admitted to beating and stabbing Hawkins to death while attempting to rob Hawkins of his pain medication early Saturday morning.


Price and Hirsch allegedly knew Hawkins, a 21-year military veteran who served in two wars, was disabled and had pain medication in the home.


Hawkins served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.


Rogersville police believe the two suspects knocked on Hawkins’ door at the Boyd Street Apartments between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday.


One of the defendants allegedly put his finger over the door peephole, and when Hawkins opened the door they rushed him, beating him with a hammer.


The suspects allegedly admitted that when Hawkins fought back, one of them used a hunting knife to stab Hawkins multiple times.


Rogersville Police Department Chief Doug Nelson described the murder scene as among the most gruesome he’s witnessed in his career.


After killing Hawkins, the suspects allegedly stole pain medication, three handguns, a shotgun and $400 in cash. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the guns and about $242 in cash were recovered.


Price and Hirsch had allegedly sold some of the pain medication after committing the murder.


Physical evidence led police from Hawkins’ downstairs apartment to an upstairs apartment where Price’s uncle resides.


Police believe that after the murder, Price and Hirsch went upstairs and took their bloody clothes off at Price’s uncle’s apartment.


Price and Hirsch later allegedly disposed of the bloody clothes and shoes in public garbage cans at businesses across Rogersville.


At 1:21 p.m. Saturday, officers from the Rogersville Police Department were called to the apartment after a friend found Hawkins’ body.


Price and Hirsch allegedly fled the murder scene in a vehicle that later broke down on Route 66 near Rogersville.


Price reportedly got a ride back to Boyd Street Apartments, but by that time police had made the connection between him and the upstairs apartment.


Upon his arrival back at the apartments, Price was detained for questioning.


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


Witnesses had allegedly connected Price and Hirsch with a sudden windfall of cash and pills Saturday. Upon being questioned, both suspects allegedly admitted to beating and stabbing Hawkins to death during the robbery.


After allegedly confessing to the murder, Price and Hirsch told police where their bloody clothes were stashed. All of their bloody clothes and shoes were then recovered, as well as the hammer and knife.


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



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ROGERSVILLE — Two men accused in the beating and stabbing Rogersville veteran Roger Hawkins to death while attempting to steal his pain medication appeared in Hawkins County Sessions Court for arraignment Monday.


Hawkins County Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross set a $1 million bond each for Austin Scott Price, 18, and Samuel Wade Hirsch, 22, both of Rogersville who are charged with first degree felony murder.


Ross also appointed attorneys for both defendants and set a preliminary hearing for April 29 at 1 p.m.


Both allegedly admitted to beating and stabbing Hawkins to death for his pain medication.


Price and Hirsch allegedly knew Hawkins was disabled and had medication in the home, including painkillers. Some firearms and cash were also allegedly taken.  

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