Nursing home murder: Florida man, 47, accused of killing ex-girlfriend's 95-year-old boyfriend

The suspect, 47-year-old William Hawkins, fled from the victim's room after a nurse called authorities to report "someone tried to hurt a patient," police said.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A 47-year-old Florida man is accused of murdering a 95-year-old nursing home resident who was in a relationship with the younger man's ex-girlfriend.

William Hawkins, 47, was arrested on Jan. 30 and charged with first-degree murder more than three weeks after police say he killed Robert E. Morell, 95, at Tiffany Hall Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Port St. Lucie, according to an arrest warrant.

William Hawkins.St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office

Port St. Lucie police responded to the center at about midnight on Jan. 5 after a nurse called to report that "someone tried to hurt a patient," according to a statement from police.

When officers arrived at the facility, they found Morell dead.

A nurse had walked past Morell's room that morning when she noticed another man sitting on top of his chest, holding a pillow over his face, according to the Port St. Lucie Police Department.

By the time police arrived, the suspect had fled.

Hawkins was arrested the next day on unrelated crimes, and later charged with premeditated murder, according to jail records.

NBC affiliate WPTV reported that an arrest warrant for Hawkins said he had been romantically involved with Morell’s girlfriend, who told investigators she had an open relationship with Morell.

Tiffany Hall Nursing and Rehabilitation Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment.