William Hawkins was walking quickly past attendants in a Florida nursing home last month when he suddenly jumped onto his ex-girlfriend's 95-year-old lover and smothered his face with a pillow, according to police.
A nursing home attendant screamed and yelled for someone to call 911 when she saw the 47-year-old straddling the man on the bed, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, but Hawkins was able to walk out of the nursing home on Jan. 5 before police arrived.
Nevertheless, Hawkins quickly became a leading suspect after police spoke with the victim's girlfriend, who told police she "had a gut feeling" that he wanted to kill her boyfriend.
It's unclear exactly why the 47-year-old allegedly killed 95-year-old Robert Morell, who had been admitted to the Tiffany Hall Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Port St. Lucie, Florida, in September.
But according to an arrest warrant affidavit, Hawkins confessed to his sister during a jailhouse visit about the killing, telling her he had accomplished a "life goal."
"Let's say in your life you wanted to climb Mount Everest, okay?" Hawkins allegedly told his sister, who had agreed to record the jailhouse visit for police. "Finally you climbed it, in all your life, finally you made it to the top. When you made it to the top, how would you feel?"
Hawkins told his sister he had been planning the killing for years, blaming Morell for his failings.
"He's the reason why I am what I am," he allegedly said in the confession. "He's the reason why my life's messed up, okay? He's the reason I keep getting fucked over. So I took care of it myself."
On Jan. 30, Hawkins was charged with one count of first-degree murder. A public defender listed as his attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the warrant, Morell met his girlfriend about 15 years ago, and the two had an open relationship. She told police she dated Hawkins for about five months but ended the relationship about three months before the killing occurred.
Despite breaking up, she said, Hawkins had continued to go to the condo where she lived with her boyfriend, including just hours before the killing.
On the morning of Jan. 4, she said, Hawkins had snuck into her home through her bedroom window. She told police she ran and asked for help from two friends who were staying with her, causing Hawkins to grab the keys to her Cadillac and flee.
Hawkins returned later that day, entered through the front door, and showered at the home, she told police. She said she was afraid of him, so she allowed him to stay and shower.
While in the condo, she told Port St. Lucie police, Hawkins saw the insulin needles she used for her cat and suggested she inject the insulin into her boyfriend's feeding tube to kill him.
"She immediately rejected the idea and told him no," according to the warrant.
Hawkins left again with her car without permission, police said; then, Morell's girlfriend called the nursing home, fearing he would hurt him.
Staff at the nursing home told police they received the call but had not recognized Hawkins when he somehow made his way after visiting hours into the locked facility just past midnight. When one of the employees followed him to the room to find out how he got in, and whom he was there to see, they found him straddling Morell atop his bed, according to the warrant.
Hawkins was able to walk out the building, covering his face with his hands as attendants ran in and unsuccessfully tried to do CPR on Morell, the warrant states.
Two days later, police arrested Hawkins when they found that he had broken into his aunt's shed and left his ex's Cadillac submerged in a lake, but police were still working to link him to the killing.
The next day, police said, Hawkins' sister contacted authorities after learning about the killing on the news and offered to help, saying her brother had been estranged from the family and that she believed she could get him to confess to the murder.
Sitting alone with her brother in a room at the St. Lucie County Jail on Jan. 9, Hawkins confessed to the killing in a recorded visit.
Hawkins claimed that he had been following Morell for years and that he had only started dating his girlfriend to get close to him.
"I've been stalking the shit out of it," he said. "That's why I fuckin [sic] started dating her because she was up there."
He said his original plan was to inject insulin into his feeding tube, but that Morell had fought him off.
"No one would have known, but he struggled," he said. "He fought me, you know. He fought me hard."
According to the arrest warrant, police found a discarded needle with insulin near Morell's bed.
That's when he decided to instead use a pillow.
"Did you put the pillow over his face?" his sister asked.
"Yeah, I did it," he allegedly said.
Hawkins then began to tell his sister how killing Morell made him feel, telling her that thinking about the attack had made him ejaculate earlier.
"I wanted to put my hands around his fucking throat so bad," Hawkins told his sister. "I accomplished my life goal, okay? Whatever happens to me after, that's fine."