Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Turning to Christ, Man Admitted to Shock Cold Case Murder: Now Others Who Were Implicated Plead Guilty


In 1993, a young California man named Frank McAlister was brutally murdered, stabbed multiple times in the head and chest, and his body was dumped in the wilderness.

Soon afterward, McAlister’s bloody car was found at a Costco parking lot in Redding, California. A year later, a hiker found the 19-year-old’s body near Grace Lake and Nora Lake in Shingletown, California, according to a post by the Redding Police Department.

It was clear foul play was involved, but for nearly 25 years the perpetrators walked free.

Somewhat abruptly, on Jan. 9, 2018, 48-year-old Brian Hawkins came forward with a tale of regret. He confessed to the crime on television and then immediately turned himself in.

“On the afternoon of January 9, 2018, suspect Hawkins went to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office where he met with Redding Police Investigators and voluntarily came to the Redding Police Department to provide a statement,” the Redding Police Department’s post said.

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“Suspect Hawkins told investigators that in May of 1993, he along with Curtis Culver and Shanna Culver murdered Frank McAlister,” it said. “Curtis Culver, who is now 45, and Shanna Culver 46, are brother and sister and reside in Red Bluff, California.

“Suspect Hawkins told Investigators he could no longer live with the guilt and wanted to clear his conscious. Suspect Hawkins reported he along with Curtis and Shanna Culver lured the victim to the Shingletown area for the purpose of robbing him of money he had to purchase methamphetamine.

“Once in a rural area of Shasta County, Brian Hawkins, Curtis Culver and Shanna Culver conspired to murder McAlister. Brian Hawkins and Curtis Culver ultimately stabbed the victim to death and left his body in the woods. The trio then took his money and vehicle and drove back to Redding, abandoning the victim’s vehicle in the Costco parking lot.”

At the time, Hawkins had been dating Shanna Culver, and he said the idea to kill McAlister hadn’t been his — but as the years passed, his guilt only grew.

It was one thing in particular, though, that persuaded him to finally come clean: He became a Christian.

“I’m, I’m going to turn myself in, next door at the sheriff’s department, for a, a crime I was involved in years ago,” Hawkins said during the interview with KRCR-TV at the time, according to ABC News. “And somebody lost their life. It was murder.

“God, Christ, these things that have happened throughout my whole life since then, for over 25 years have pushed me and pushed me to do the right thing. I know I — the wrong can’t be changed, but this is, as close as I can come to doing the right thing.”

According to Law and Crime, the motive behind the murder was robbery, as the group discovered that McAlister had recently acquired a $4,500 insurance settlement.

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It was Curtis Culver and Hawkins who ultimately stabbed McAlister to death, and that has haunted Hawkins daily.

“Horrible, horrible, absolute horror, absolutely horrible every day,” he said, choking back tears. “Almost every minute of every day has been a nightmare. I said it’s kind of weird, that Frank never even got to have a life, and neither did I, we were teenagers and now I’m 44 and still haven’t even had a life and now probably most likely won’t anyways. I’ve been through hell my whole life because of this.”

Hawkins’ guilt drove him to talk to McAlister’s family on several occasions, but before he could meet them in person and ask for forgiveness, McAlister’s father died.

Hawkins pleaded guilty to murder in the first degree, robbery and special allegations in late 2019. Because of his confession, he faces 25 years in prison.

Curtis Culver and Shanna Culver were arrested within 12 hours of Hawkins’ confession in 2018.

Initially, they denied any involvement in the case, but earlier this month they pleaded guilty.

“Today, Friday January 14th, 2022, Curtis and Shanna Culver pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, robbery in concert and multiple assault charges,” the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office posted.

“They will return to court on February 25, 2022 to set a sentencing hearing. Curtis Culver faces 35 years in state prison. Shanna Culver faces 20 years in state prison.”

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