Hawbaker pleads guilty to five counts of aggravated assault against a peace officer

Don Hawbaker Feb. 4, 2020, booking photo courtesy of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Don Hawbaker, who has been held without bond in the Spalding County Jail without bond since Feb. 4, 2020, today accepted a guilty plea to five counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer.

The guilty plea was accepted by Griffin Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Scott Ballard.

Hawbaker was on Oct. 29, 2020, indicted for eight felonies – one count of aggravated assault under the Georgia Family Violence Act, five counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and two counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix, whose deputies were the victims of Hawbaker’s actions, responded to the plea.

“Hawbaker has been in custody in the Spalding County Jail without bond since the February 4, 2020, incident occurred. When he entered his plea Hawbaker admitted to the accusations and accepted responsibility for his actions. He apologized to my deputies that he fired shots at that day,” Dix said. “I think Judge Ballard said it best when he addressed Hawbaker and told him that he was elected by the people of this county to represent them and work to make Spalding County better. You failed them and endangered the lives of those who

protect us every day.”

Hawbaker was sentenced to 20 years with ten to be served in prison for each of the five counts of aggravated assault against a peace officer. Four of those sentences will be served concurrently with the first, which means Hawbaker will serve a maximum of ten years followed by ten years parole.

He will receive credit for the time he has served since his February 2020 arrest, and he is eligible for early parole. However, Dix said he will staunchly oppose any possibility of early release.

“It is my understanding that early release via parole is highly unlikely based on the severity of the crimes he admitted to in court this morning. If we are notified about the possibility of an early release or hearing, we will fight to ensure that it is not granted until his full term is served. He will get credit for the time he has already spent in the Spalding County Jail and may be transferred to the state prison system as early as today,” Dix said. “This conclusion and plea was (sic) because of the hard work put in on this case by Towaliga Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Presley, The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, my investigators, deputies, and SWAT team members. Great work by a great bunch of folks.”

As part of the plea bargain, the charges of aggravated assault under the Family Violence Act and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony were dismissed.

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