Teen sentenced to life in prison for murder of Florence communit - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

Teen sentenced to life in prison for murder of Florence community volunteer

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The scene in the courtroom on Friday as Brown pleaded guilty. (Source: Kelly Brucker/WBTW) The scene in the courtroom on Friday as Brown pleaded guilty. (Source: Kelly Brucker/WBTW)
Michael Hawkins catches a pass during a basketball game at Levi Park in 2010. (Source: WBTW Media General FILE) Michael Hawkins catches a pass during a basketball game at Levi Park in 2010. (Source: WBTW Media General FILE)
Lakavis Antonio Harrison (Source: Florence County Jail) Lakavis Antonio Harrison (Source: Florence County Jail)
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FLORENCE, SC -

A teenager and a man pleaded guilty Friday morning in connection with the death of a Florence community volunteer in January of 2012.

 The plea deal happened in the murder of Michael Hawkins, who was fatally shot in his home on New Year's Day 2012 as his teen daughter was held at gunpoint.

Kendris Brown, now age 16, was sentenced to life in prison in a deal with prosecutors around 9:45 am Friday.   Hawkins' family said he deserved the sentence because they are also suffering for the rest of their lives.

"They took everything from me; he was my best friend.  And now I have no one to walk me down the aisle, or see me graduate," said Ashley Hawkins, his daughter.

"Just like my brother, he will never be free again, and Mike can't see nothing again, and he won't be able to see nothing else again," said Betty Johnson, his sister.

"His daughter, she'll never be the same, that family will never be the same, he was really the glue to their family, when he got killed that night," said Pat Gibson-Hye Moore, a close friend of Hawkins.

Lakavis Antonio Harrison, also known as Kavis, now age 26, also pleaded guilty in connection with the incident just after 11 am. Harrison's sentence for pleading guilty to first degree burglary and armed robbery was deferred.

Judge Nettles said in court that Brown appeared to show no remorse and this was a cold-blooded, pre-meditated, and senseless murder. Brown was initially charged as a juvenile in the crime. 

"I couldn't believe it, he was just standing there, like he hadn't done anything; it's not right, it's not right," said Johnson.  "He hurt a lot of peoples' lives and he destroyed a lot of peoples' lives because not a day goes by that we don't think about Mike."

"He gave cookouts for these boys, just to keep them off the streets, and that's how they repaid him--that's how they said thank you, ‘Thank you coach mike'."

Hawkins, age 49, was shot to death after police said three people entered the back door of his home at 909 Harmony St. about 8:20 p.m. on Jan. 1 and held he and his daughter at gunpoint.

Hawkins, who was known as "Coach Michael" in the community, was shot twice and died from his injuries. His 18-year-old daughter was uninjured.

Hawkins began volunteering in Florence in 1998, teaching kids 14 and older basketball, and was also the activities director of the South Carolina Promise Alliance for Youth.

Hawkins volunteered as an assistant boy's basketball coach at Southside Middle School and the Thelma Brown Head Start School, in addition to volunteering at several other causes.

Hawkins was also appointed to the Florence Parks and Recreation Commission by Florence City Councilman Ed Robinson.

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