by Antoinnette Borbon
Susan Hoskins, a Woodland woman charged in the shooting death of her estranged husband, took the stand Monday to tell her story.
Susan Hoskins is charged with the premeditated murder of her estranged husband on the night of August 3, 2014. During the 911 call, she told police dispatch she shot her husband because he “is an —- and he kept calling me a whore.”
Prosecution described the couple’s relationship as a “rocky,” up and down, on again-off again marriage and that, out of pure frustration, Susan shot her husband, Bryan Hoskins.
But defense contends Hoskins endured an emotional and often physically abusive relationship at the hands of her husband, Bryan Hoskins. Friends and co-workers asserted, “Susan was always trustworthy, honest, law-abiding with a good sense of moral, never hurt a fly.”
Susan Hoskins often told co-workers, “He’s a mean son of a —– when he is drunk.”
DEFENDANT TAKES STAND
Susan Hoskins took the stand and talked about the life she shared with her husband of 17 years.
Defense Attorney Tony Serra asked a series of questions pertaining to Bryan’s drinking habits.
“He drank in cycles, Seagrams and bourbon were his favorite, ” she stated. Hoskins said, under the influence of alcohol, he became mean, calling her names and sometimes putting her into a “control hold,” that he learned as a probation officer to detain juveniles.
She explained that during their long marriage, there were months that Bryan would not drink, but once he began a binge it lasted for periods of six months or so. He drank about 5 to 6 days a week, she added.
Hoskins explained that “he drank for holidays, certain months of the year, although April was good, you could set a calendar to his binges, cycles.” Toward the year 2012, “all I know is his drinking got worse,” she added.
“I never knew what to expect when I came home, I tried not to set him off,” says Ms. Hoskins.
She described that the abuse began when Bryan was under the influence but asserted that “he never acted that way when he was sober.”
Attempting to help her husband, she quit drinking herself and looked into getting Bryan into a rehabilitation center but, when it came time to go, he would not leave the house.
In 2009, Bryan suffered a heart attack and, according to Hoskins, “things changed, our relationship was fantastic.”
During the time of his hospitalization, Hoskins said she seldom left his side.
After the heart attack, “he wanted to be a better person, father, and husband, ” she sobbed. She said that “he had seen the light and wanted his life to get better.”
“We started trying to go to church and decided if we changed our friends, we could maybe change things,” she said, her voice quivering.
Attempting to cope with his drinking, Susan attended Al-Anon classes. However, “forgive me for saying this, but I found it to be filled with weak-willed women full of sad, sad stories,” she stated.
Ms. Hoskins explained that, after the passing of her father, the couple had gone down to stay with her mother in Concord. She said that Bryan took care of the lawn and other things because he was not an emotional “kinda guy.” He would often drive home to make sure things were taken care of at the couple’s home.
For eight months after his heart attack, he was kind, nice and it was fantastic, but by October Bryan began drinking again. “He drank harder, longer, he became angrier. I wasn’t doing anything right,” stated Hoskins.
Bryan had stopped taking his medication and told her she was weak for taking hers.
Defense asked Ms. Hoskins to describe the physical abuse. She described the”control-hold” that he used on her.
During one of the incidents, Hoskins lost consciousness and woke up on the living room floor.
Hoskins showed how Bryan would wrap his arm around her neck, putting pressure on her carotid artery. She talked about another maneuver he used by twisting her foot, with the pain taking over her body so he could gain control.
In other incidents, Bryan used pinching to hurt her, leaving huge bruises on her inner thigh. He often grabbed hold of her arms, leaving bruises on the upper arm area. “But only when he was angry, drunk, ” stated Hoskins.
“I was scared, sometimes I thought about leaving but then I would just go upstairs, I didn’t know what to do,” stated a tearful Hoskins.
“Bryan would pull my hair, to move me in place or keep me in place.” She asserted once again, “He only did these things when he was angry or drunk.”
“And how did that make you feel?” asked Mr. Serra. “I was very shocked, it was painful,” replied Hoskins.
She said she tip-toed around the abuse, trying to figure out things. “I didn’t know what to do, I tried not to set him off, tried to figure it out,” she sobbed.
“Now, I want to talk about verbal abuse, if he (Bryan) wanted to address you verbally, how would he do that?”
“He would grab me, hold me in front of him, ranting, fat lazy b—, worthless c—, slut, whore, just plain but he never used the f—word” while drunk, explained Ms. Hoskins.
“It was demeaning, shameful, embarrassing…(she paused, struggling for words) pain goes away but memories stay.”
Bryan had shoved her into the wall once, causing abrasions on her arm, and often threw rocks at her from a table where her son had a rock collection.
She stated, “When he was frustrated at work, he would be more frustrated with me.”
Mr. Serra turned Ms. Hoskin’s attention to a tattoo.
“Was there a point in time where you had gotten a tattoo on your body?” questioned Mr. Serra. “Yes, I received a gift certificate from Bryan and he and I went to the tattoo shop. He wanted something with his name in it. He said, “What about my handprint.” Then he reached around and grabbed my buttocks and said, “how ’bout these,” stated Ms. Hoskins.
Breaking down into tears, she said, “I felt loved, he hugged me and he wasn’t a huggy kind of guy. I want to remember it as loving,”
“Now, forgive me, Ms. Hoskins, but I need to ask you about sexual abuse, did Bryan ever force sex on you?” asked Mr. Serra.
She described an impotent Bryan after his heart attack so he began taking Cialis and Viagra, medications that stimulate arousal.
Hoskins went on to describe an aggressive sexual behavior. She said on many occasions “he forced me to have sex, both vaginally and anal. I told him I wasn’t ready but he would roll me over and insert. There was little or no foreplay.”
Usually in the morning Bryan would wake her up and have sex with her.
“Did you try to stop him?” asked Mr. Serra. “He was 240 lbs, on my back (as she described one incident), there was little room to move. There are times when you don’t resist,” replied Hoskins.
She said she was only allowed to wear nylons to bed with the crotch cut out, “Nightgowns weren’t allowed, he liked the feel of nylons.” explained Ms. Hoskins.
On occasion, “he would grab my hair and tell me to s— him off,” stated Hoskins.
“But all this didn’t happen in one day, one night, it happened over time,” she told the defense.
During the last couple of years of the relationship, Bryan had begun accusing Susan of cheating on him. She said, “Things got worse towards 2012.”
However, Ms. Hoskins explained that, after the passing of her father, the couple had gone down to stay with her mother in Concord. She said that Bryan took care of the lawn and other things. He would often drive home to make sure things were taken care of at the couple’s home and then return in a few days.
“Was your father’s passing a stressor for you? asked Mr. Serra. “Yes, it was,” she replied tearfully.
“My father never told anyone he was sick, his death came rapidly and I took it hard,” she sobbed.
She explained that, “during Bryan’s rages, he accused me of cheating on him.” He began timing all of her outings.
“Did you ever cheat on him?” questioned the defense. “No, never,” she replied.
Describing a few road trips on their bikes, Hoskins said Bryan often disappeared, leaving her to find her own way home.
“When we were in New Orleans, he went into the store and I waited for him to come back but he never did so I went back to the hotel. I couldn’t take the bike,” stated Ms. Hoskins.
The testimony of Susan Hoskins will resume in the morning.