Father accused of raping five children freed on bond

Father accused of raping five children freed on bond
James Hawkins Senior
James Hawkins Senior

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis father charged with raping five of his own children over a 22 year period will stay out of jail.

James Hawkins Senior made bail when he was indicted but prosecutors a man in prison awaiting death may hold the key to locking up James Hawkins Senior for life.

James Hawkins Senior, 62, has 22 children. He is accused of raping five of them for decades.

"From a period of time from 1988 to 2010, so 22 years," said Judge Lee Coffey, Criminal Court Division 7.

Hawkins was indicted in February. He is free on a bond that was originally set at $1.25 million, but was later reduced to $200,000.

Prosecutors asked a judge to increase bond based on new evidence they uncovered, namely the cooperation and testimony of Hawkins' son, James Junior.

James Junior is accused of raping his own child. He is currently sitting on death row after his June 2011 conviction for killing his wife Charlene Gaither and discarding her dismembered body throughout the Mid-South.

"He has a substantial amount of information," said Prosecutor Eric Christensen.

Prosecutors say James Junior can testify to witnessing some of his father's abuse and getting beaten and threatened into silence.

His father's defense attorney argues James Junior is an unreliable witness.

Judge Lee Coffey left bond as is and James Hawkins Senior remains a free man.

He plans to fight the charges that could get him locked up for life.

Hawkins has made every court date on time. He will be back in court on December 18.

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