Murder Victim in Standoff Lived Life to Care For Others, Says Family

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kathleen hawley

MECOSTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The family of a Morley woman who was killed during a hostage situation this week describes her as a caretaker and an avid dog lover.

58-year-old Kathleen Hawley was killed during a 10-hour standoff which began Thursday night in a home on Cramer Road in Rogers Heights.

The victim’s niece told FOX 17 Saturday afternoon that Hawley leaves behind two children and four grandchildren.  She was married to a retired police officer until he passed away from cancer.  “She took care of her husband until his last breath.  Aunt Kat was a caretaker, always looking out for her family,” she said.

“She adored her dogs.  She had many throughout her home,” said Hawley’s niece.

The man who was arrested following the 10-hour standoff near Big Rapids was arraigned Friday afternoon.  27-year-old Duncan Eric Willis II was charged with felony homicide, sexual assault and weapons charges.

FOX 17 checked his criminal record. It shows several convictions including the following: domestic violence in Oceana County, 2007; misdemeanor assaults in Lake County, 2007 and 2008; misdemeanor assault in Big Rapids, 2011; domestic violence second offense in Big Rapids, 2012.

Investigators said the incident began around 8:30 p.m. Thursday at a Rogers Heights home on Cramer Road, just south of Big Rapids. Police received a call saying that there were shots fired in the area. Deputies later learned that a man forced his way into the home.

Police say a woman inside the house was on the phone with her boyfriend when she said a man came in with a long-gun, when he lost contact with her he called someone else to go check on her. That’s when another woman and her friend showed up to see what was going on. Police say that woman, who they identified as 58-year-old Kathleen Hawley of Morley, was shot as she entered the home.

The friend was able to get away and call 911.  When officials arrived to the home they discovered that the 27-year-old suspect was holding hostages. Among them,three children, two 7-year-old boys and a 10-month-old girl, and three women, ages 20-30 were inside the home.

The Michigan State Police became involved and a negotiator was called to the scene. The man let the children and two of the women out just before 5 a.m. and then, at about 6:30 a.m. the last woman was released and the suspect was arrested.

The sheriff’s department said that the women were all sexually assaulted during the standoff. Police say that the children were not hurt. Willis was charged with the following Friday afternoon:

• Homicide – felony murder

• Criminal sexual conduct – first degree (weapon used) x 6 counts

• Kidnapping

• Weapons – dangerous weapon – carrying with unlawful intent

• Weapons – felony firearm

• Habitual offender 2nd notice

Willis II is expected back in court on December 2 for a preliminary examination.

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  • George

    Maybe its time to expose the program that's bringing big city hoods to west Michigan ?
    Hint: dilute the strong west Michigan republican base…guess who?

  • Daxid

    Maybe the courts need to wake up and stop giving chances .Ok I can see things happen sometimes and people make mistakes but how many mistakes are they allowed to make?Courts need to wake up and start protecting Citizens people say well it costs to much to keep them locked up.Ok but why does it have to cost a family a loved 1 or in this case several family's so much heart ache?People do make mistakes in their life but they are to learn from them.This guy had a history of violence and it escalated into this and people say well it dont happen to all no but if you have a history of violence and keep mixing alcohol with it you are playing with fire.All that said FORGET PEOPLE SAYING IT IS CRUEL PUNISHMENT FOR THE DEATH PENALTY BRING IT BACK YES SOME HAVE BEEN INNOCENT BUT CHANGE THE LAWS AND MAKE IT WHEN DNA EVIDENCE OR LIKE THIS CASE THERE IS NO DOUBT THEN USE IT SEND A MESSAGE MAKE A POINT AS WHY TRY TO FIX THEM AS THEY WI;LL NEVER WALK OUT EVER AGAIN.

  • Scherzerfan

    I would hardly call this guy's history of assualts "mistakes." He had 4 wake up calls to smarten up but as the saying goes, you can't fix stupid. And now we have lost a good soul, loving mother, aunt, grandmother, and near to my heart dog lover. In my opinion, this P O S should have never been back on the street from the 2nd domestic violence charge in 2012 or allowed to leave the house on Cramer Road alive.