Man arrested in second case of alleged theft from student group

MARFA – A Marfa coach has been arrested for allegedly stealing over $2,800 from a youth track program. This is the second individual to allegedly commit a theft from a Marfa youth organization in recent months.

According to the incident report filed by Marfa Police Lieutenant Gilberto Carrillo, Craig Jex Hawker used donations totaling $2,835 intended for the West Texas Wind Track Club to pay his rent. Hawker was charged with Theft of Property of more than $2,500 and less than $30,000, a state jail felony.

Carrillo first received a call on Wednesday, June 19, from a Marfa parent requesting that he meet with her and Coach Joshua Kelly about an issue. Hawker and Kelly were both in charge of the track club that competes through the spring and summer. Kelly told Carrillo that Hawker never deposited some of the donations to the organization’s bank account.

Some of the donations were made through a CashApp as well as through an online Go-FundMe fundraising site. Carrillo wrote that Hawker also received $120 in pre-registration free for a basketball tournament that never made it to the organization’s bank account. Kelly used $340 of his personal money to pay for uniforms that was supposed to be reimbursed from the donations.

Carrillo received a statement from a witness who said Hawker admitted to lying to him and the parent and that he used the money to pay his rent and would try to pay it back Friday.

Hawker was arrested later that night and was released on bail Saturday evening. Presidio County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 David Beebe lowered Hawker’s bail from $750 to whatever cash Hawker had in his pocket, which was $80.

“I want to remind the public that bond used as punishment is unconstitutional,” said Beebe. “The court case itself determines punitive penalties.”

Beebe told the Big Bend Sentinel that Hawker represents no danger to himself or the safety of the public, is completely indigent and not a flight risk. He did let Hawker sit in jail for two days.

“I think the use of internet fundraising services should be prohibited by the school and its affiliated organizations, but it’s not my decision,” said Beebe.

Previously, former Marfa Band Booster member David Gomez was arrested in April for allegedly stealing almost $8,000 from the booster’s bank account, claiming he thought he was using his own credit card.

Kelly posted in the Marfa Facebook Group informing the community that future donations to West Texas Wind Track Club are to be made to the track club officers, which are himself, Brenda Silva Bentley and Cricket Peña. The officers will also accept the donations in pairs to protect themselves and the donations. (Robert L. Halpern also contributed to this report.)