The 1975 Eldridge Hawkins Report

Black investigator tells Governor
"Carter and Artis were present ...
when the homicides took place"

The Eldridge Hawkins report didn't make anyone happy.

For Rubin Carter it was bad news because Hawkins, a black state legislator (aided by black investigator Prentiss Thompson), placed Carter and Artis at the scene of the crime as accomplices to murder. For the Prosecutor it was unpleasant because it said two other people were the triggermen.

Significantly, Hawkins seems to think the prosecution's racial revenge theory makes sense (see report pages 6 and 19). Ten years later a judge would throw out Carter's conviction largely because the prosecution used that theory in court. The theory says Carter and John Artis murdered three whites in retaliation for the murder of a black by a white earlier in the evening. Writes Hawkins: "There has not ... been found any other plausible motivation" for the Lafayette Grill triple murder.

Hawkins' report, which was made at the request of the New Jersey governor, prominently features alleged witness Annie Ruth Haggins — a woman the prosecution did not consider credible.

In the end the report served only to muddy the waters and upset a lot of people to no great effect. Carter, in his usual fashion, was harshly critical of Hawkins.

Not long after the report was given to the governor, a court ordered a new trial for Carter and Artis. That trial ended in December 1976 with their second convictions for triple murder.

The report is presented here in full except for exhibits

IMPORTANT NOTE: Although Hawkins believes Eddie Rawls and Elwood Tuck were the triggermen, that has never been proven and the men have never been charged. In fact, the Prosecutor believes the triggermen were Carter and Artis.

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