A Bradenton man is on trial for a chilling crime that would terrify any parent. Prosecutors say Dominick Hawkins lured a 5-year-old girl with candy and then raped her.
In June 2013, a 5-year-old girl was playing outside her grandmother’s home at the Wayside Glen mobile home park in Bradenton.
Prosecutors say Dominick Hawkins, a homeless man, offered to buy her candy. “They went hand in hand, down the road to a convenience store,” said prosecutor Ashley Dusnik.
The pair was captured on surveillance camera. “After she got the candy she wanted to go home, but the man told her he was having a party at his house,” said Dusnik.
Instead, he lured her to an abandoned trailer.
“They went to what she thought was his house and she’ll tell you that there was no furniture in the house, it just had some trash in the house and that when they got there, the man began to be mean to her. And [he] pushed her down on the ground and began to choke her and told her to shut up and be quiet,” said Dusnik.
Officials say after he assaulted her, he ran to a nearby bus, frantically trying to leave the area.
“She put her pants back on. Tried to exit the trailer, when she found she couldn’t go out the door, she crawled out a window,” said Dusnik. Surveillance video shows the girl running home for help.
That little girl is now 11-years-old, and she will testify in front of the jury.
Hawkins’ defense team says the convenience store owner recognized the pair as regular customers and nothing seemed amiss.
“The video does not depict a man who is holding a 5-year-old against her will, it shows a girl who won’t leave Mr. Hawkins alone,” said defense attorney Charalampos Demosthenous.
If convicted, Hawkins will face life in prison.