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Astoria man gets 25 yrs for wife slay: DA

Marlene Coyle (c.) receives comfort after her son-in-law Jordan Hawes is sentenced for killing her daughter Tara Hawes. Coyle's husband David stands behind her. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
TimesLedger Newspapers

An Astoria man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to beating his wife to death with a baseball bat in their 30th Street apartment, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Jordan Hawes, 32, who lived with his 33-year-old wife Tara Hawes in the Carver Arms building, at 26-80 30th St., received the sentence from Acting Judge Dorothy Chin-Brant after entering a guilty plea in February to manslaughter, the DA said.

He had assaulted his wife with a baseball bat on her head and body in their apartment Jan. 31 while she was sleeping, the DA said.

DA Richard Brown said in a statement that the plea bargain would spare Tara Hawes’ parents the agony of having to witness a trial on her daughter’s death.

“The defendant’s plea and sentence are a guarantee that he is severely punished for killing this young, vivacious woman with her whole life ahead of her,” Brown said.

Tara Hawes’ body was discovered in her apartment Feb. 2 with blunt force trauma to her body and head, the DA said. A baseball bat with blood, skin and hair as well as bloody knives were found near her, the DA said.

Jordan Hawes had left a bloodstained note by her saying he had had a good life and ending with, “I don’t know what ... happened last night, but my life is destroyed. I killed my best friend.”

Neighbors and co-workers had reported not hearing from Tara Hawes, a special education teacher in Manhattan and Brooklyn, since Jan. 30, although messages had been sent from her cell phone and Jordan Hawes’ cell phone explaining her absence, the DA said.

Jordan Hawes and his wife’s Jeep Liberty were found Feb. 4 in a McDonald’s parking lot in Bridgeport, Conn., off I-95, the DA said. When he surrendered to the Connecticut State Police, he said he had done something wrong, the DA said.

Then he had a seizure that necessitated his being taken to an area hospital, the DA said. Jordan Hawes waived extradition and was sent back to Queens after he recovered, the DA said.

A source who asked to be unidentified described Tara Hawes as a tiny woman who was a tireless and gifted teacher. Jordan Hawes, who worked as a chef in Manhattan, would sometimes do cooking demonstrations for the students and the Hawes were thought by many to have a happy marriage of four years, the source said.

A condolence book on legacy.com has six pages of messages remembering Tara Hawes.

“She was a colorful and hilarious person. I can see that she took her gifts and helped others which was always her calling,” an Alex Aronowicz wrote. “This world is a little less bright without her in it.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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