Man charged with the murder of Pfeiffer University student makes first appearance

Published 10:25 am Thursday, January 21, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

A Salisbury man facing first-degree murder charges in the death of Pfeiffer University student TaLisha Crowder made his first appearance in court Thursday morning.

Brandon Jarron Hawkins, 20, was escorted into the courtroom wearing an orange Rowan County Detention Center jumpsuit. He was handcuffed and his feet were shackled as he was ushered to the front of the courtroom.

Salisbury Police charged Hawkins two days ago with the shooting death of the 19-year-old college student, who was Hawkins’ ex-girlfriend. Police have not given a motive. Crowder, of Salisbury, was found dead Monday inside a Honda Accord that belonged to Hawkins.

Police arrested Hawkins on Tuesday, and he remains in the Rowan County jail without bond.

District Court Judge Beth Dixon told Hawkins the maximum sentence he could possibly receive for the murder charge is death or life in prison. He could receive a maximum of nearly three and half years for a larceny of a firearm charge.

Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook did not say at this point whether she intends to proceed with this as a capital murder case.

There was little said during a proceeding, which took less than five minutes. Salisbury Attorney Drew Cochran was appointed as a provisional attorney for Hawkins. He will also be eligible for representation by an attorney with the Indigent Defense Services. He is expected back in court Feb. 10.

Friends and fellow students gathered Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil at Pfeiffer University to remember Crowder. A graduate of Rowan Early College high school, she was a biology/pre-med major and planned to be a doctor. Friends said she was a sweet, shy and quiet person with big plans for her future.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the family to help with funeral costs.