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Man guilty of murder in motorcycle chase death, gets 28 years

Robert Williams

Robert Williams was found guilty of felony murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison after a motorcycle crash on July 24, 2021, during a high-speed pursuit with law enforcement led to the death of his passenger, Farren Michelle Hawkins. Courtesy photo

Robert Williams was found guilty of felony murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in a trial at the Llano County Courthouse. The murder conviction stems from a July 24, 2021, high-speed chase with law enforcement during which Williams crashed his motorcycle, injuring his passenger, Farren Michelle Hawkins, who later died from those injuries. 

“The jury very carefully considered the punishment,” said 33rd and 424th Judicial Districts Attorney Wiley “Sonny” McAfee. “This was a very dangerous situation. I believe as the district attorney that this was very clearly murder.”

In an interview with DailyTrib.com, McAfee, who prosecuted the case, laid out the circumstances that led to the felony murder conviction:

The high-speed pursuit began in Marble Falls when an officer ran Williams’ license plate number and noticed the registration had expired in 2012. When the officer attempted to make a traffic stop, Williams fled.

The chase was picked up by Granite Shoals police officers as Williams drove westbound on RR 1431. After crossing into Llano County in Kingsland, Llano County sheriff’s deputies joined the pursuit, and Williams turned south on RM 2900. 

Williams was reportedly traveling at a speed of roughly 100 mph when he attempted to pass a vehicle to his right. That vehicle pulled over after seeing law enforcement lights, and Williams corrected to the left to avoid a collision. The vehicle then corrected to the left as well in an attempt to avoid a collision with the motorcycle, at which point, Williams clipped the rear end of the vehicle and crashed.

Both Williams and Hawkins sustained injuries in the crash and were transported to a hospital. Hawkins passed away from her injuries four days later on July 28, 2021.

According to McAfee, Williams reached speeds of 120 mph during the chase.

“The conduct that led to the death of Hawkins was apparent,” he stated.

While murder is typically associated with intentionally killing someone, it also includes knowingly taking actions that lead to a person’s death. McAfee distinguished this as a felony murder because Hawkins died while Williams was committing the felony act of evading arrest.

Prosecuting the case alongside McAfee was Assistant District Attorney Emily Sterling. McAfee expressed respect for Williams’ defense, Llano County Chief Public Defender Michelle Moore and Assistant Public Defender Sean Rogers. 

dakota@thepicayune.com