Man set on fire in Schenectady dies from injuries

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Kevin Hawkins, 59, passed away surrounded by family on Sunday. Those who knew him tell me he was a very giving man, his wife heartbroken she says they’ve been together for 27 years.

“All our friends and family, and I appreciate all the prayers. I know everybody loved Kevin and I want to say thank you to all of them because he will be missed,” Latonia Hawkins, Kevin’s wife, said.

Latonia Hawkins is grateful for the support she’s received from her husband of 16 years Kevin Hawkins fought for his life at the Westchester medical center burn unit. On Monday, flowers adorn the mailboxes outside her home, this time flowers for condolence.

Police say Hawkins’ stepson 30-year-old Andrell Leppanen doused him in gasoline and lit him on fire at their home in August.

Latonia says Hawkins was a kind man who always helped his Schenectady community. He was known as Uncle Kev, and owned the store, Keys World.

“Kevin would reach out to the people who were coming out of jail and give them outfits and give them credit so you know they would have something decent to wear,” Latonia said.

Meanwhile, Latonia says she supports her son. She says he suffers from mental illness.

“He knows I love him and I know he loves me. I just know that wasn’t my son.”

Latonia says the hospital she took her son to for help days before the incident refused to keep him there.

“[The] laws should change. If you have a family member that’s suffering from mental health illness and you reach out and try to get that family member help something should be done and in this case, nothing was done.”

Leppanen remains in jail on an attempted murder charge.

Schenectady County DA Robert Carney says they are waiting for an autopsy to be completed and will most likely bring the case before a grand jury again where he could face a more serious charge.


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