Shingletown man confesses to cold case murder

Brian Hawkins in KRCR's studio, January 9.

After nearly 25 years, a cold case murder in Shasta County may have been solved after a man walked into the Sheriff's department and confessed, saying that his faith in God led him to finally admit to his terrible act.

44-year-old Brian Keith Hawkins, 46-year-old Shanna Culver and her brother 45-year-old Curtis Culver, have all been arrested and are in the Shasta County jail on burglary and robbery charges related to the death of 20-year-old Frank Wesley McAlister in 1993 after Hawkins confessed to the crime Tuesday afternoon, and named the Culvers as accomplices.

Redding police investigators say they believe the motive was robbery. They say McAlister had recently got some money from a settlement. They say the trio lured him out to Shingletown under the guise of selling him methamphetamine. Instead, they robbed him, and Hawkins and Curtis Culver stabbed him to death. All three left his body there and dumped his car at Costco.

Hawkin's KRCR confession

Before he went to police, Hawkins came to KRCR and said he wanted to confess to McAlister's death. He refused to answer any questions about the case itself but said he wanted people to know that he had found God, and that is what led him to finally do the right thing and confess. We agreed to interview him, on the condition that we would hold the interview until he turned himself in, and law enforcement could corroborate his confession.

A short while later Hawkins came to the station, driven by an acquaintance. He was visibly emotional and asked for a soda and a "smoke" before going on camera.

Hawkins appeared to be deeply remorseful, at times tearing up, but he refused to go into details about what happened in Shingletown more than two decades ago.

"God and Christ and these things that have happened over the course of 25 years have pushed me and pushed me to do the right thing," said Hawkins. "I know the wrong can't be changed but this is the closest I can come to doing the right thing."

Hawkins hung his head and clasped his hands as he spoke about what it has been like living with the secret.

"Horrible, horrible, horrible, absolute horror, absolutely horrible since that day. Every minute of every day has been a nightmare. It's kind of weird, Frank never got to have a life, but we were teenagers and now I'm 44 and still haven't even had a life and now most likely won't anyway."

Hawkin spoke of his faith, saying that he was "blind" as a non-christian, but now he's asking for some kind of redemption.

"I've been through hell my whole life because of this," he said through tears. Hawkins continued, saying that there hadn't been a moment where he hadn't been remorseful for what he had done. He said he even reached out to McAlister's family last year.

"I talked to them several times and told them I was going to make it there so I could tell them what happened and I wanted their forgiveness. By the time I got there, his father had passed away." Records show a Douglas Irvin McAlister died in Redding in October of 2017.

Before leaving the station, and heading off to face whatever consequences may come his way, Hawkins said he was no longer running from his past.

"I'm not running, I just need someone that cares. I just hope the community can also forgive me."

Immediately after he left, Executive News Director Jennifer Scarborough called Redding Police Chief Roger Moore and Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko to tell them that Hawkins was headed their way. She also informed them that we would hold the story until they corroborated what Hawkins said.

A two-decades-old cold case

Redding Police Captain Eric Wallace says over the years different investigators looked at the case and followed many leads trying to solve it.

In 1997 Michael Vielbig, who was then a suspect in the high profile river trail murder of Christine Munro, told investigators he killed Wesley. They investigated that, but could not find a connection.

Hawkins was their first big break. And they took advantage, immediately putting a team on it to find and question the Culvers. Wallace says they called the original investigators on the case, now long-retired, to help.

By Tuesday evening, all three had been interviewed. Wallace says one of the Culvers also confessed but did not want to release which one.

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