REDDING, Calif. – A tearful TV confession leads to the arrest of three in a decades old murder.
In a riveting television moment this week, a California man shed tears and claimed that he murdered a young man in Northern California nearly 25 years ago.
The penitent, Brian Keith Hawkins, 44, walked into the KRCR-TV station in Redding, Calif., and said he wanted to confess to the 1993 killing of Frank McAlister, the outlet reported. Hawkins said his newfound faith in God led him to seek forgiveness.
McAlister was 19 years old at the time of his death.
The station agreed to the interview with conditions. They said it could not air until Hawkins turned himself in and police corroborated the confession.
“I know the wrong can’t be changed but this is the closest I can come to doing the right thing,” Hawkins told the station.
Hawkins named two accomplices: siblings Curtis Culver, 45, and Shanna Culver, 46.
Nearly 25 years ago, they set up a phony drug deal in Shingletown, Calif., to rob McAlister of money he brought to buy methamphetamine, Redding Police said in a news release.
After committing the robbery, Hawkins and Curtis Culver stabbed him to death, leaving his body in the woods and dumping his car in a Costco parking lot, according to police.
Although McAlister’s family reported him missing at the time, his remains were not discovered until the following year by a hiker in Shingletown, about 29 miles east of Redding.
Hawkins appeared to be deeply remorseful, at times tearing up, but he refused to go into details about what happened in Shingletown more than two decades ago.
“God and Christ and these things that have happened over the course of 25 years have pushed me and pushed me to do the right thing,” said Hawkins. “I know the wrong can’t be changed but this is the closest I can come to doing the right thing.”
Hawkins hung his head and clasped his hands as he spoke about what it has been like living with the secret.
“Horrible, horrible, horrible, absolute horror, absolutely horrible since that day. Every minute of every day has been a nightmare. It’s kind of weird, Frank never got to have a life, but we were teenagers and now I’m 44 and still haven’t even had a life and now most likely won’t anyway.”
Hawkin spoke of his faith, saying that he was “blind” as a non-christian, but now he’s asking for some kind of redemption.
“I’ve been through hell my whole life because of this,” he said through tears. Hawkins continued, saying that there hadn’t been a moment where he hadn’t been remorseful for what he had done. He said he even reached out to McAlister’s family last year.
“I talked to them several times and told them I was going to make it there so I could tell them what happened and I wanted their forgiveness. By the time I got there, his father had passed away.” Records show a Douglas Irvin McAlister died in Redding in October of 2017.
Before leaving the station, and heading off to face whatever consequences may come his way, Hawkins said he was no longer running from his past.
“I’m not running, I just need someone that cares. I just hope the community can also forgive me.”
Immediately after he left, Executive News Director Jennifer Scarborough called Redding Police Chief Roger Moore and Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko to tell them that Hawkins was headed their way. She also informed them that they would hold the story until detectives corroborated what Hawkins said.
McAlister’s grandmother, Avis Rice of Anderson, told the Redding Searchlight that she and her family members were stunned to learn of the arrests so long after the murder.
“It is such a shock to us,” she told the paper.
This was the Redding Police Department’s first big break in the two-decades-old cold case.
Captain Eric Wallace says they called the original investigators on the case, now long-retired, to help.
By Tuesday evening, all three had been interviewed. Wallace says one of the Culvers also confessed but did not want to disclose which one.
In a Facebook post, McAlister’s uncle, Jon McAlister, wrote about the arrests of those apparently culpable for his nephew’s death.
“Today, the man that did it confessed, and he and two others will now be brought to justice,” he wrote.
Unfortunately, he said, his brother, who was certain of those responsible for Frank McAlister’s death, died before those arrests were made.
“Some closure, but the passing of Frank’s father, my brother, a couple of months ago (is) too little, too late,” he wrote.
Electronic court records show that Hawkins had a criminal record dating back to 1991 that included arrests for drunken driving, hit-and-run, burglary, receiving stolen property and corporal injury to a spouse.
Curtis Culver has an arrest record in Shasta County that includes possession of a controlled substance, obstruction and the manufacture of weapons.
His sister, according to court records, also has a criminal history that includes arrests for possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia, as well as petty theft and child abuse.
Record Searchlight archives also show that Shanna Culver was involved in an April 2002 traffic collision that killed a 35-year-old Oakland area man. Phillip Lamont Jackson was hit by a pickup driven by Culver, who told police the man was standing in the road.
Police said Culver had not been drinking and no citations were issued.
Hawkins and the Culver siblings were arrested and were being held in the Shasta County Jail.