Hawkins sentenced to life in prison for murders of Newton mother and daughter

Keith Hawkins was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. (Photo courtesy KSN News)

HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Keith Hawkins was sentenced Friday for the killings of a Newton mother and child.

The bodies of 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and 4-year-old Zaylynn Paz were found in August. Runyon was beaten and Zaylynn was stabbed.

Hawkins led police on a chase just after the murder through parts of Texas before he crashed the vehicle in Hutto, Texas. Authorities in Hutto were able to stop the vehicle with spike strips. He was arrested in Hutto and then transported back to Harvey County where he was charged for the murders of Runyon and Paz.

Hawkins was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In court he apologized to the family of Alyssa and Zaylynn and said wished he could take back the night when he killed them and that he doesn’t expect to be forgiven.

Emotions were running high, with lots of tears as the family of Alyssa and Zaylynn got to confront Hawkins directly in the courtroom.

“I am trying to think of what I am going to say to you but there are now words that ever are going to be able to convey the hatred 900 and anger I have for you,” said Tracy Good, Alyssa Runyon’s mother.

Alyssa’s father also got a chance to talk Friday, telling Hawkins he is going to get what he deserves in prison. Two grandparents also talked about the pain of losing their granddaughter and great-granddaughter.

The prosecution said this plea deal was the swiftest way to justice, saying that if they had pursued the death penalty in this case, the courtroom filings and motions could have gone on for well over a year, or more.