The value of Andrew Hawes' rural southwestern Minnesota land -- where he allegedly attempted to burn his brother's body -- disqualifies him from being represented by a public defender, an Anoka County judge ruled Friday.
Hawes, 36, his sister and his girlfriend are charged with first-degree murder in the October 2008 death of his brother Edwin Hawes, 46, of Andover.
In a hearing initially intended to consider a lower bail amount for Andrew Hawes, Anoka County District Judge Sharon Hall determined that the land Hawes owns in rural Westbrook is valued at $76,600, meaning he is far from indigent.
That ruling resulted in the dismissal of Hawes' attorneys Bryan Leary and Jennifer Pradt, who left the courtroom as soon as the hearing began. Hawes, then left on his own, remained adamant that his assets were frozen and that he could not afford an attorney.
Hall, however, said Hawes must make efforts to sell the land and added that additional property records that show Andrew Hawes as a co-owner on a Robbinsdale home with his grandmother valued at $187,000. Hawes countered that he was only a trustee on the home, but the argument did not stick with Hall.
"You've got a significant asset here, and based on what you did disclose, you're looking at charges of perjury," Hall said. "That may look like small change compared to the charges you're facing, but these are very serious."
Hawes asked the judge how he could prove that the Robbinsdale home did not belong to him.
"I'm going to need some time to figure this out," Hawes said. "I don't have a chance at all. I don't have a penny to my name."
"I'm not going to give you legal advice, Mr. Hawes," Hall said. "All I can say is that, as of yesterday, you are the owner."
According to authorities, Hawes, his sister, Elizabeth Hawes, 43, and his girlfriend, Kristina Dorniden, 29, planned Edwin Hawes' death. He was shot with a crossbow, beaten with a bat and run over in the driveway of his Andover home.
By the time authorities searched the farm property, only skeletal remains of Edwin Hawes were left. He was identified through dental records.
Prosecutors said Hawes would be given time to find a new attorney. In the meantime, he remains in the Anoka County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Elizabeth Hawes is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 11. She remains in the Anoka County jail. Dorniden will appear in court April 24. She was released from jail Jan. 13 after posting $500,000 bail.
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921