Andrew Hawes was sentenced to life in prison Friday for the 2008 murder of his brother, Edwin. But lack of evidence forced Anoka County prosecutors to dismiss murder charges against Andrew's fiancée, Kristina Dorniden.
Andrew Hawes, 38, who testified during his trial that he accidentally ran over Edwin Hawes, 46, with his brother's car and supplied the crossbow with which his brother was shot, was convicted eight days ago. He was the second sibling to be convicted of aiding and abetting first-degree murder in the killing at Edwin Hawes' Andover home. Their sister, Elizabeth Hawes, 45, was convicted in January and also received a life sentence.
Andrew Hawes testified during his trial that on Oct. 30, 2008 -- the day after Edwin was shot, beaten, and run over in his driveway -- he and Dorniden drove the body 200 miles to a farm in Cottonwood County, where the remains were burned. Andrew testified that he dragged his brother's remains from a truck to a fire pit and ignited the fire.
Deputies spotted the blaze and found Elizabeth standing nearby. Dorniden, 30, also was found near the fire by authorities, according to court records.
Dorniden, like Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes, was charged with aiding and abetting murder in the first degree. But her involvement or knowledge of the killing wasn't made clear in either Hawes trial.
"We couldn't go forward with the case as charged," said Paul Young, an assistant Anoka County attorney who teamed with Deidre Aanstad to prosecute both Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes. "We don't have the evidence."
Nor could prosecutors count on Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes, both of whom are expected to appeal their verdicts and would likely decline to testify.
According to testimony and court records, Andrew and Elizabeth Hawes believed that Edwin embezzled millions of dollars from a family lawn-care service and family members. A month before Edwin's death, Andrew purposely rammed Edwin's car in traffic on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, he testified.
Dorniden could still be charged with a lesser crime in the case, pending further investigation. Her attorney, Earl Gray, did not immediately return calls.
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419