MANATEE -- Prosecutors revealed in court Thursday that they have DNA linking Dominick Hawkins to the kidnapping and rape of a 5-year-old Bradenton girl.
Hawkins appeared before Manatee County Judge John Lakin on Thursday morning for a case management hearing to set his case for trial.
Hawkins, 36, faces charges of kidnapping and capital sexual battery. The girl was kidnapped July 15 from near her home off U.S. 41 and taken to a vacant mobile home, where she was raped, according to authorities.
Hawkins was arrested on July 17 in Sarasota after a two-day manhunt by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Lakin expressed concerns that the number of witnesses already listed in the case would cause the trial to need more than five days, pushing it into the Major Trial Division with Judge Peter Dubensky, unless a plea deal was made.
"It will definitely fall within the five-day window," Assistant State Attorney Cynthia Evers said. "We have already received some DNA results identifying the defendant on the items so you would not need to call all of those witnesses listed by the state, and the only offer to the defendant is life in prison."
"Given the serious of the charge I can understand why," Lakin said.
The trial is set to start May 15.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.