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Burnet man faces murder charge in knife attack after victim dies

57-year-old Daniel Smith Sr. of Burnet

Burnet police charged 57-year-old Daniel Smith Sr. with first-degree murder after a man they say he stabbed multiple times died from his wounds. Burnet County Sheriff’s Office photo

A Burnet man now faces a murder charge following the death of the person police say he stabbed multiple times. 

Daniel Smith Sr., 57, was first arrested May 8 on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police say he held a knife against the side of a woman at a Burnet restaurant before stabbing another person several times. The second person, identified as 55-year-old John Hawkins, was transported to an Austin-area hospital by helicopter due to the seriousness of his injuries.

Burnet Police Chief Brian Lee confirmed that Hawkins died Saturday, May 21, from his wounds. 

Burnet police responded to a restaurant in the 600 block of Buchanan Drive at about 9 a.m. May 8 to an assault in progress. According to a probable arrest warrant affidavit, one of the arriving officers located a woman in a vehicle who had previously reported that the suspect had harassed her at the restaurant. 

The officer found the man, identified as Smith, walking away from the location with a knife in his hand. The officer detained Smith until another unit arrived to take him into custody. While the first officer was holding Smith, he heard other people “yelling for an ambulance.”

Once the suspect was in custody, the officer headed back to the restaurant and entered the kitchen, where he found the victim, identified as Hawkins, on the floor with multiple stab wounds. Burnet EMS arrived and began treating the man, who was eventually flown to an Austin-area hospital.

During the initial call, the officer reviewed security camera footage that showed a confrontation between Smith and Hawkins outside of the restaurant. During a followup investigation, outlined in a murder arrest warrant issued Monday, May 23, the investigator reported that Smith had watched the two victims from a nearby location before confronting Hawkins.

The initial officer stated that, in the security footage, Smith can be seen pulling a large, fixed-blade knife from behind his back and rushing Hawkins.

At some point, Smith entered the restaurant, found the woman, and held the knife to her side, telling her to “say goodbye.” At this time, according to the documents, Hawkins entered the kitchen with blood on him and carrying a hoe and attempted to intervene.

According to the murder arrest warrant, Hawkins struck Smith on the head with the hoe, which caused the suspect to drop the knife. However, Smith grabbed a second knife from his pocket and stabbed Hawkins several times.

A preliminary autopsy showed Hawkins died due to “complications from multiple stab wounds” and ruled his death a homicide, according to the murder arrest warrant.

Smith was already being held in the Burnet County Jail on the aggravated assault charges. He now faces a first-degree murder charge, punishable by up to life in prison if convicted. He is being held in lieu of a total of $1.5 million in bonds.

daniel@thepicayune.com