ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. - A Hawkins County veteran is dead and police said two men have confessed to killing him.
Joe Gibson lives at the Boyd Street Apartments in Rogersville. "He was a great person. I'm still in shock. I saw him the day before. He seemed happy," Gibson said about 52-year-old Roger David Hawkins.
Saturday afternoon, Hawkins was found beat and stabbed to death in his apartment. "I just can't believe it," said Gibson.
According to his military record from Veteran's Services, Hawkins served in the Army National Guard for 21 years.
American Legion Post 21 Commander Raymond Hice said he can't believe what happened. "Most veterans have been overseas in conflict and you feel safe when you come home, especially in your home," Hice said. "Unfortunately that wasn't the case for Roger."
Rogersville Police Chief Doug Nelson said 18-year-old Austin Scott Price and 22-year-old Samuel Wade Hirsch allegedly charged Hawkins in his apartment then used a large hunting knife and hammer on him. "They rushed in on him, beat him, stabbed him," Nelson said. "It was a very brutal murder."
Nelson said neighbors and witnesses at the apartment complex helped police determine Price and Hirsch were suspects. "They gave some pretty accurate and articulate information. There was evidence leading from the apartment to the upstairs apartment." That's where police said Price's uncle lives.
Both men were arrested about an hour and half later. Chief Nelson said they confessed to the murder. "They did admit to it," Nelson said. "Hopefully justice will be done." Both men were charged with first degree murder.
Police said several valuable items were taken from the apartment including guns, cash and prescription pills. All the stolen items have been found. Police said they also found the suspect's bloody clothes in garbage cans around Rogersville.
Price and Hirsch are being held, each on a $1 million bond. They are due back in court April 29.