New trial denied for Yahweh elder Yedidiyah Hawkins

Man convicted in October in the sexual abuse of stepdaughter, 11

Abilene Reporter, Texas/February 21, 2009

A 42nd District Court judge on Wednesday denied a motion to grant a House of Yahweh elder convicted of sexually abusing his stepdaughter a new trial, according to prosecutor Shane Deel.

A new attorney for Yedidiyah Hawkins, in the motion for a new trial, claimed ineffective counsel by Dallas-based attorneys John Read and C. Tony Wright.

Hawkins, 41, was convicted in October of sexually assaulting his then 11-year-old stepdaughter by performing a vaginal examination. He told the girl that he wanted to check her for cervical cancer, though he has no medical training.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Hawkins was worried the girl was no longer a virgin. He was sentenced in December to 30 years in prison.

During a sentencing hearing in December, Read mispronounced Hawkins' first name more than 30 times, according to Reporter-News files. He was pronouncing it "Yed-uh-DYE-uh," which he said was "close enough" to the correct pronunciation of "Yeh-did-ee-uh."

Parker also claimed in the motion that Hawkins had been intimidated by trial spectators, specifically by members of the Bikers Against Child Abuse group, Deel said.

It's rare that a judge will grant a motion for a new trial, according to Deel.

"They are very seldom successful," he said.

Hawkins still faces several other charges, including aggravated perjury, indecency with a child, engaging in organized criminal activity and bigamy. The cases will remain pending until Hawkins has exhausted all appeals on this case.

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