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CNN Today

Mother of Slain Texas Officers Condemns Society That Creates Murderers

Aired January 5, 2001 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: It's the classic "Old West" tale, updated for the 21st century. They're armed, dangerous, and police say, cold-blooded. Texas law officers are on a fresh trail now of that band of seven escaped prison inmates. Some, perhaps all of the men, have been spotted.

Police released these sketches of the men today. The drawings are said to be updated depictions of the convicts. Previous photographs released to the media were several years old. All of this new attention today comes after a rather bold move by the convicts in central Texas.

Witnesses say two of the escapees tried to open an account at a bank in San Marcos. The city is just north of San Antonio on the I-35 corridor. Witnesses say the two were with a group of other men in three cars, presumably the other escapees, all headed out of the downtown area toward the freeway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER DAVID TULL, IRVING, TEXAS POLICE: I think it's an even -- even assumption they could go any direction: north, south, east or west. Obviously, the border is one of them. So again, that's all we're trying to figure out and get these tips. That's where the public is helping us the most, is getting these tips.

Obviously, you've all seen the media coverage where we've had sightings: Colorado, Texas, South Texas, just all over. At this point, keep them coming in. That's what we're working on to verify.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATERS: Those men escaped three weeks ago, December 13th, by dressing as prison staffers and bluffing their way out the front gate. They're suspected in a deadly robbery of a sporting goods store shortly after, near Dallas. That happened Christmas Eve. They made off with guns, police scanners, and about 70,000 grand in cash and checks.

A police officer who arrived at the robbery scene was shot 11 times, six times in the head.

To help spread the word about the escapees, Dominoes Pizza in the Dallas Fort-Worth area is putting pictures of the men on their delivery boxes.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: On the line with us right now is the mother of the slain police officer. Jayne Hawkins lives in Dallas. As we told you, her son, 29-year-old Aubrey Hawkins, was killed on Christmas Eve.

Ms. Hawkins, we thank you for talking with us during such a difficult time. And you understandably have harsh words for the prison system that saw these men escape.

JAYNE HAWKINS, MOTHER OF SLAIN TEXAS POLICE OFFICER: Well, harsh words -- I don't even like the word harsh. Actually, it's a matter of taking responsibility, and I think actually the ultimate accountability has to go to the citizens who elected the legislature that allows what happened that evening at the prison.

ALLEN: Do you, then, hold -- not hold -- what? -- the prison responsible? What has been the prison's response to how these men were able to, as Lou just reported, bluff their way out of this prison?

HAWKINS: I've not had any personal contact with anyone from the criminal justice department. I've only read an article where the vice chairwoman of the criminal justice system for the state of Texas spoke, and she said she questioned whether there was anything they could learn from this or not. That is the most ludicrous statement. I can't fathom her saying that when they, as the gentleman just said, they bluffed their way out of a maximum security prison. That leaves Texas with nothing to be proud of.

And as citizens who elected the officials who see to it what happens to the prisons, ultimately it is our responsibility as citizens to be accountable and to see to it that the legislatures spend our tax dollars as we see that they should spend them.

So the public is outraged. I think they'll stay outraged. I'm very optimistic that changes will be made. And I don't want to see this ever happen again.

It is unspeakable that it ever happened. And citizens must be accountable. The politicians must become accountable. And therefore, then, the prisons will be accountable.

ALLEN: And you've always -- you've also talked about society and said that you don't have so much anger at these criminals, who allegedly did this, but at a society that creates such people. Could you elaborate on your thoughts regarding this?

HAWKINS: Yes. I mean, the criminals are the effect. They're not the cause. The cause is we don't have a system that offers health care for (AUDIO GAP), we don't have a system (AUDIO GAP) a good educational system for our kids. Parents have to work 24 hours a day. They can't stay home with their children to rear them, teach them ethics.

It starts at home. Violence is learned at home. So we have a responsibility as to how we rear our children.

Now, that sounds idealistic, but that's the causal level. They're expecting the police to treat what we create at the effect level, and certainly we need that. However, it's going to continue to happen and get worse if we as a society do not take care of our children and see to it that they're reared properly, they're loved, they're taught ethics and kindness and values. And our educational system, in my opinion, needs to include that in with algebra and geometry.

ALLEN: Jayne Hawkins, we thank you so much for talking with us.

HAWKINS: You're welcome.

ALLEN: Thanks.

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