Andrew Hawes was convicted Friday in the murder of the brother he once "worshipped," a man he called "his best friend," in a case involving two brothers who Andrew's attorney said "were so much alike."
In its second day of deliberations, an Anoka County jury found Hawes guilty of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, the second sibling convicted in a tragic family saga that culminated with the brutal 2008 killing of Edwin Hawes, 46, at his Andover home.
Like his sister, Elizabeth Hawes, 45, who was convicted in January, Andrew will receive a mandatory life prison sentence.
Andrew's fiancée, Kristina Dorniden, also has been charged in the case and awaits trial in June.
Andrew Hawes, 38, smiled often minutes before the verdict was read Friday afternoon. But as each juror affirmed the verdict, he stared wide-eyed, his head tilted to the right, the corners of his mouth drooping.
"He said he wasn't expecting that at all," Bryan Leary, one of Hawes' public defenders, said of the outcome. He instead expected the jury to convict him of being an accomplice after the fact, Leary said.
"I didn't intend to kill him," Hawes testified this week. "I didn't intend to run him over."
A jury also heard Hawes testify, "I wanted him to suffer."
Edwin Hawes was shot with a crossbow, bludgeoned and beaten, and run over with his car at his home on Oct. 29, 2008. The next day, his brother and his sister took his body to a farm 200 miles away, where it was burned in a fire pit.
Andrew's fingerprints were not found on the crossbow; nobody's were. But Andrew testified that he provided the crossbow, accidentally backed the car over his brother in a panic, and later dragged Edwin's body into the fire pit and started the fire.
During the two-week trial, Andrew said it was his brother-in-law, Daniel Romig, Elizabeth's husband, who killed Edwin. But Romig has not been charged in the case.
This was a "cat and mouse game," Andrew testified this week of the schism with his brother that had reached a boiling point.
For 18 months, Andrew stewed over what he perceived as a scheme in which Edwin embezzled millions of dollars from a family lawn-care service.
In March 2007, after a computer trail had convinced Andrew that Edwin was writing company checks that had nothing to do with the lawn service, he ransacked his brother's office and left a threatening note, Andrew testified.
Prosecutors Paul Young and Deidre Aanstad said the company that Andrew began as a teenager and turned into a multimillion-dollar outfit was heavily in debt and near dissolution.
But when all else seemed gone, a company car emerged as the symbol of the family's dysfunction, said public defender Jennifer Pradt.
Edwin had a Volkswagen Passat that Hawes Lawn Service had financed. Andrew wanted it back, but Edwin was doing everything possible to avoid having it repossessed, Andrew testified.
"These brothers were so much alike," Pradt said in her closing argument.
"They were both stubborn and nobody was going to give in."
Deemed an 'ambush'
So Andrew devised a plan. He testified that on the night of the killing, he sought to surprise Edwin at his home with the intent of quickly getting the car.
But in her closing argument, Aanstad said it was an "ambush."
Andrew testified that it was Romig, who confronted Edwin and who, when they tangled, shot him with the crossbow and then pummeled him with his fist.
Expert witnesses said that Edwin was shot from behind and bludgeoned with a mallet found bloodied in Edwin's trunk.
Judge Sharon Hall ruled that she would not allow grand jury testimony given by Romig to be heard during Andrew's trial.
"Given the limitations of the information the jury had about Romig's involvement, they came to the only conclusion they could have," Pradt said of the verdict.
Something the jury also didn't hear was the sadness that comes with the loss of a sibling.
Andrew concluded his testimony by saying, "I'm still angry now."
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419