By Thomas Zambito
February 14, 2012
A Manhattan chef was caught on a store video pawning his wife's wedding rings after bludgeoning her to death and leaving a blood-stained confession note, Queens prosecutors say.
Jordan Hawes, 32, was extradited from Connecticut Tuesday to face second-degree murder charges in the Jan. 30 slaying of his wife Tara, a Brooklyn special education teacher, in their Astoria apartment.
Hawes surrendered on Feb. 4 in the parking lot of a Connecticut rest stop on I-95 after cops spotted his wife's 2008 Jeep Liberty there. "I did something wrong," he said, according to prosecutors. "I surrender myself."
"The defendant is accused of savagely beating to death the woman whom he purportedly loved," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. "If convicted, her brutal and senseless death merits serious punishment."
Two bloody knives were found in the couple's 30th St. apartment, along with a bloody baseball bat that had traces of his wife's skin and hair, prosecutors say.
"Where to begin," read the bloody note cops found in the apartment. "My life has been great most of the time. I was raised perfectly by my mom and dad and I have learned so much...I don't know what happened last night but my life is destroyed. I killed my best friend."
In the days after the slaying, Hawes was captured by video surveillance cameras pawning his 33-year-old wife's wedding band and wedding rings as well as several pieces of her jewelry at an Astoria pawn shop, prosecutors say. He also tried withdrawing cash from ATMs using his wife's debit card, they say.
Witnesses said they saw Hawes leaving the apartment with his hands in his pockets on Feb. 2, refusing to acknowledge his neighbors.
On Jan. 31, prosecutors say Hawes sent a text message to several unidentified people informing them that his wife would not be at work that day because of a family emergency and that her cellphone had died, prosecutors say.
Hawes' lawyer, Sanford Talkin, declined to comment on the specific allegations. "We're looking forward to handling this in court," Talkin said.
He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.