Police Officers Take the Stand in Hoskins Murder Trial

murder[1]By Tressa Bryant

Susan Hoskins is charged with murder and unlawful use of a firearm in the August 2014 death of her husband Bryan Hoskins, Sr.,  a retired Yolo County probation officer.

She is accused of fatally shooting her husband in the kitchen of the couple’s home last year. Previous testimony during pretrial hearings suggested it was a volatile 15-year-marriage, where the couple kept separate dwellings as an escape valve when times got tough.

Prosecutors claim that the two were motorcycle riding and bar hopping along Highway 20 when an argument broke out shortly after they arrived at home.

Mr. Hoskins, 60, challenged his wife, then 59, to shoot him when she pulled a handgun out during the fight. Ms. Hoskins allegedly did so, firing a single shot to the chest, and Mr. Hoskins died at the scene.

She would call 911, reporting the shooting and telling dispatchers she did it because “he’s an a— and he kept calling me a whore.”

The defense team led by, among others, famed San Francisco Attorney J. Tony Serra, say their client had long been a victim of psychological and physical abuse by her husband, which behavior worsened when he drank.

The trial of Susan Hoskins saw the presence of three police officers and the sergeant who had arrived on the scene of the crime on August 3, 2014. All the officers reported that Mrs. Hoskins did not appear to be intoxicated at all. She walked calmly, did not sway, or fall. Mrs. Hoskins also did not have blood on her cloths or hands. When Mrs. Hoskins was ordered to come out with her arms in the air unarmed, she did so but was also holding her phone in her left hand. When one of the officers told her to drop her phone she did. All officers on the scene had their weapons drawn in case Mrs. Hoskins tried to fight. However, she was arrested with no attempts to fight or run away. All the officers noted how little Mrs. Hoskins seemed to be concerned about her husband. Mrs. Hoskins, it was reported, never cried the whole time officers were with her.

The sergeant and a few other officers went into the house and started to do a sweep of the house to make sure there was no one else hiding inside. The sergeant went directly to the victim who was still alive when the officers entered the house. The sergeant described the victim to be gasping for breath, but the sergeant could see the life leaving Mr. Hoskins’ eyes. The sergeant had the paramedics rush in to try to save Mr. Hoskins. The team called for a helicopter ambulance, which ended up being cancelled a few minutes later after Mr. Hoskins passed.

The police were dispatched to the house at 10:53pm after Mrs. Hoskins called for help. When dispatch asked Mrs. Hoskins what happened she gave the dispatcher her address and told her she had shot her husband. When Mrs. Hoskins was asked where she had shot Mr. Hoskins, she could be heard asking him, “Where did I shoot you, Bryan?” Mrs. Hoskins then explained to the dispatcher that Mr. Hoskins was not responding to her but was still standing. Mrs. Hoskins went on to explain that she put the gun back in the drawer. Next the dispatcher asked Mrs. Hoskins why she shot her husband. “Because he is an a—- and keeps calling me a whore.” Mrs. Hoskins also admitted she used a .22 mm pistol. Then, Mrs. Hoskins can be heard on the dispatch recording encouraging her husband, “They are coming babe.” Mrs. Hoskins told the dispatcher that she aimed for Mr. Hoskins’ left side of his chest, which is probably where she shot him. The call ended with the dispatcher telling Mrs. Hoskins to go outside unarmed with her hand ups.

The officers and the sergeant all said that they had never been called to the house before. They also confirmed that Mrs. Hoskins did not own any guns, while Mr. Hoskins owned several. The house did not appear to have been messed up as though there had been a fight. Defense asked one of the officers if they had ever had training in domestic abuse and the officer admitted that he had. The defense then had the officer explain how the behavior of victims of domestic abuse is different from that of other people. The officer testified that they tend to show very little emotion.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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  1. hpierce

    To me, whole lot of difference between, “and the officer admitted that he had. “, vs. the officer ‘testified’… the former implies wrong-doing… is that the intent/impression of the author/’reporter’?   

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