Girl Claims Father Made Her Cut Off Mother's Head

A Memphis, Tennessee man accused of killing his girlfriend and cutting off her head, feet, and hands faced a judge Wednesday.

James Hawkins is accused of killing his longtime girlfriend, Charlene Gaither, and then dismembering her body before dumping it in Coldwater Creek in DeSoto County.

At a hearing Wednesday, Gaither and Hawkins' 12-year-old daughter testified about what happened leading up to the day police found Gaither's body.

The girl said that during an argument, her father got a knife from their kitchen and stabbed Gaither in the neck, before ultimately choking her to death.

Afterwards, the girl said, her father made her help cut off her mother's head.

Then, she testified, she helped cut off Gaither's hands and feet.
The 12-year-old said she then rode along with her father into DeSoto County, where they dumped Gaither's body.

The girl said her father discarded her mother's hands and feet at nearby factory, and threw her head into some water under a bridge.

In court, Memphis Police Sergeant Tony Mullins testified that Hawkins bought a circular saw used to dismember the body at a local K-Mart.

Hawkins later returned the saw to the store, Mullins said.

When police originally interviewed the 12-year-old, she told them she didn't know what happened to her mom.

Defense Attorneys argued that she didn't tell police her current story until two days later, when police handcuffed her and threatened to charge her in her mom's murder.

The judge ruled to send the case to a grand jury at the conclusion of Wednesday's hearing.