DA Vance: Gordon Francis Convicted at Trial for “Cold Case” Murder of James Hawkins in 1993

June 28, 2018

Fatal Stabbing Case Reopened by Manhattan DA’s Office and NYPD

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the trial conviction of GORDON FRANCIS, 60, for the murder of James Hawkins in 1993. The defendant was convicted by a New York State Supreme Court jury of Murder in the Second Degree. He is expected to be sentenced on July 18, 2018.

“Cold cases should never become forgotten cases,” said District Attorney Vance. “As forensic science accelerates forward, law enforcement has new opportunities to ensure that previously unresolved cases are examined with the same care and technology as newer cases. I thank our prosecutors and partners in law enforcement for their yearslong commitment to obtain justice for Mr. Hawkins and his family.”

As proven at trial, on August 15, 1993, FRANCIS attacked James Hawkins, a 50-year-old social worker, inside the victim’s apartment in Chelsea, fatally stabbing him more than 25 times in the neck, chest, and abdomen. The defendant then fled the apartment, walked down several flights of stairs, and left the building through the front entrance, leaving behind a trail of blood.

Nearly 20 years later, in 2010, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and NYPD Cold Case Squad used newly developed investigative techniques to reexamine the case evidence, and conducted re-interviews of multiple witnesses to the crime, leading to the indictment of the defendant.

Assistant D.A. Coleen Balbert and Assistant D.A. Anne Siegel handled the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Melissa Mourges, Chief of the Forensic Sciences Cold Case Unit, Assistant D.A. Lanita Hobbs, Chief of Trial Bureau 80, and Assistant D.A. Charles Whitt, Chief of Trial Bureau 60. Supervising Investigator Siobhan Berry, Senior Investigator Robert Stewart, Analyst Gaelin Bernstein, and Trial Preparation Assistant John Everett provided additional assistance with the case.

District Attorney Vance also thanked the following agencies for their assistance with the investigation: the NYPD, and in particular, current and retired members of the Cold Case Squad, Crime Scene Unit, Latent Print Unit, and 10th Precinct; and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the City of New York.

Defendant Information:

GORDON FRANCIS, D.O.B. 4/20/1958
Queens, NY


  • Murder in the Second Degree, a class A felony, 1 count