Fort Smith Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty, Sentenced To 28 Years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A man charged with the killing of a 20-year-old has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

According to court records, Dwight Neal Hawley, 54, was sentenced to 28 years for the murder conviction on Friday (Feb. 5), as well as 20 years for possession of firearms by certain persons.

Hawley’s charges will run simultaneously, in that the 20 years for unlawful firearm possession will be included in the first 20 years for his murder charge, according to the Sebastian County Circuit Clerk’s office.

A third charge of first-degree terroristic threatening was dropped by an amended order.

Hawley was identified as the suspect in the July 2015 killing of Carlos Araujo-Mejia.

Police had responded to the area near South 2nd and South E Streets regarding reports of a shooting, according to a press release. The Mejia’s girlfriend was also on scene, according to the release.

According to witnesses, an argument broke out between Araujo-Mejia, his girlfriend and Hawley that led to the shooting, the release stated. Alcohol was believed to have been a factor, according to the release.

He was initially arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Hawley had been scheduled for trial the week of March 21, 2016.