Hodges Used a Belt to Kill His Children; Pleads Not Guilty to Triple Homicide


By Novpreet Shoker

This Monday afternoon the arraignment for 32-year-old Robert Hodges was held in Department 1, after he was held in Yolo County custody without bail. Mr. Hodges is accused of the attempted murder of his wife and the murder of their three children. While few details have been released, the charging document confirmed that the two older children were killed with a belt.

What started out as a domestic violence call in West Sacramento last Wednesday evening turned out to be the worst mass killing in recent Yolo County history, as police responding on the scene found three young children unresponsive, soon to be declared deceased.

After coming home from work, Hodges’ wife was attacked by Hodges. Soon after, she found her children unresponsive.

Hodges fled the scene but was later found and arrested that evening.

The Yolo County Coroner’s Office identified the children as Kelvin Hodges, 11; Julie Hodges, 9; and Lucas Hodges, 7 months.

Hodges pled not guilty to the charges made against him through his defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson.

Hodges faces several charges that include special circumstances as well.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig has filed the following charges:

Count 1 is for the premeditated murder of Hodges’ youngest son, Lucas Hodges, who was 7 months old.

Count 2 is for the premeditated murder of Hodges’ daughter, Julie Hodges, who was 9 years old. This count involves further enhancements that indicated Hodges was not only lying in wait, but also used a belt on young Julie.

Count 3 is for the premeditated murder of Hodges’ oldest child, Kelvin Hodges, who was 11 years old. This count also involves special circumstances in which the enhancements indicate Hodges lay in wait and used a belt on Kelvin.

Hodges is facing a fourth count of attempted murder on his wife, who is believed to have sustained injuries from Hodges attacking her. This count includes an enhancement that specifies his actions as premeditated and willful.

There is a possibility that Yolo County might seek the death penalty, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Judge Arvid Johnson scheduled the pre-hearing conference to be on October 2 in Department 14 at 8:30 a.m.

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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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37 thoughts on “Hodges Used a Belt to Kill His Children; Pleads Not Guilty to Triple Homicide”

  1. Howard P

    Interesting… if the man is not guilty, it seems like he would not likely be suicidal… if the man is guilty, and if it turns out he faces the death penalty, how would that (removing the smock) be different than offering a ‘terminally ill’ person a little blue pill?

    Or does anyone think the mom killed the kids and framed the father? Or an unsub with one arm?

    1. David Greenwald

      You have a lot of different points embedded in this. As I a death penalty opponent, I’m loathe to defend the system, however, you are conflating somethings that are adding to your “confusion.”

      1. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty
      2. You can only be found guilty through due process of law and therefore a court of law
      3. Until he is found guilty in a court of law, there is no punishment enacted by the state
      4. The punishment enacted by the state cannot be through extralegal means.

      1. Howard P

        1.  say that if you have someone attack you, and then kill your children… ‘that person should be presumed “innocent” (not only not guilty, but “innocent”)’… I’ve personally seen the results of a guy high on PCP, breaking into a house, attacking (stabbing with a kitchen knife) a 8 mo. pregnant woman, and when she ran out of the house, he turned his attention to a 2-3 year old in a crib… ever seen a crime drama with blood splatter on the walls?  I saw that “for reals”… child died, as did the fetus (which, of course is not really a ‘person”)…

        The mother got a neighbor to call the cops… by the time they arrived, he was naked, in front of the house, still holding the bloody knife… he was arrested.  After a 15 minute standoff (San Mateo, 1976… am not making this up… can give the street name (Pointsettia), and looking on Google maps, could give the address)

        I was called to help take measurements to support the case… walked in the dried blood (it crinkles, kinda’ like rice crispies), saw the splatter… 3 blocks from the home I grew up in… sorry, I could see no way to presume his “innocence”… not guilty due to reason of insanity, maybe… he escaped a conviction on the death of the fetus (el wrongo!)…

        Yeah, “innocent” (as in ‘doing nothing wrong’)…

        2. Sort of agree, but the logical extension of that MIGHT be, is that cops have no right to kill/use lethal force against someone, no matter what the threat, until the Court process plays out.

        3.  Agree, unless you mean first responders are “the State”… then, think it is a judgement call in the ‘here and now’… after all, pointing a lethal weapon at a police officer, is only a crime until ‘adjudicated’ … even after such a person fires upon and kills an officer, only non-lethal action is appropriate to subject the person to adjudication… got it… anything else would be the ‘death penalty’.

        4.  Agreed, mostly… at a 99.9% level


      2. Howard P

        Even your ‘headline’ waffles…

        Hodges Used a Belt to Kill His Children; Pleads Not Guilty to Triple Homicide

        So, which is it?  is he “innocent” [other post of yours, the ‘not guilty ‘ is more understandable](doing nothing wrong), or did he use a belt to kill his children?

        Want it both ways?

        Makes sense… in either case you could claim correctness…

        Much like another poster you’ve called out as ‘back-pedalling’…

  2. Claire Benoit

    What cowardice to plead not guilty. Insane, drugged, what does it even matter in a case like this?

    knowing anything caused him to brutalize his children to death should be enough for him to at least own the deed and demand the harshest consequence-

    which really isn’t death but death is the most logical consequence.

    I’m thoroughly heartbroken for these children and their mom. A similar case roughly 20 years ago happened in Rancho Cordova. I stopped watching the news after that. It’s just too heavy. What evil.


  3. John Hobbs

    For a member of the universal church, one of our posters is a little bit judgemental, lol.

    The guy did a horrible thing. The why is yet to be disclosed. For the last ten years I have studied murders, examining the murderer, the victim and the impacts on all their families. Murder follows the pattern of a communicable disease. The sad fact is that almost anyone is capable of killing another person in an act of rage or insanity.

  4. Claire Benoit

    I agree most people are capable of murder as an act of self defense or with specific variables in place… but thats quite different than brutally murdering 3 ddefenseless children.

    My point was even if this “man” murdered those children in a blinding rage – once the rage subsided he should be filled with remorse and own his crime…. this guy is pleading not guilty! Looks psychopathic to me.

    And even if he murdered out of insanity – then his illness is so deep that; like a rabid dog that’s attacked a child – the dude should be put to sleep. Not as a punishment (because prison is worse actually) but as a logical means of closure.

    Keeping him alive is a waste of every kind of resource. If he’s this soulless or else dangerously insane he can offer no value to society.

    I’m not one to value animals above people but it’s funny to me that a dog who viciously attacks a child is put to sleep, no fanfare. But a human who should know better than a canine at least can do something like this and be kept alive at great expense … just because he’s “human”… makes sense? I think not.

    I appreciate some aspects of the universalist church but it’s not the faith I follow… not that my faith is relevent to this. I’m not even sure what my church’s stance on the death penalty is. Probably against it. In cases like this, I’d disagree.

    1. Howard P

      As David points out, he appears to be wearing a ‘suicide smock’ in the photo… at first I thought it to be a bullet-proof vest… David appears to be correct…

    1. David Greenwald

      “Sounds like a coward.”

      I’m not defending him, but we have very limited data as to what happened or why. We also don’t know if he was actually suicidal or they were just taking precautions.

  5. Claire Benoit

    That’s true that they could be taking precautions (although I’d say “why?” to that)…

    i just don’t know that there could ever be any good excuse to do what he did and still be worth being kept alive. I feel like if he had a drip of human value he’d want to die.

    1. David Greenwald

      The why is because allowing him to kill himself does not give anyone a sense of justify if he is indeed guilty.

      There isn’t excuses, but I think for a lot of people, understanding the explanation is important. I’m puzzled by this because he doesn’t appear to have a history of DV. So did he snap or is he mentally ill? None of that “excuses” his conduct, but understanding it is important.

      1. John Hobbs

        Grammatically awful, as usual, David, but essentially accurate.
        Get a style book and dictionary and USE THEM!

        “So did he snap or is he mentally ill? None of that “excuses” his conduct, but understanding it is important.”

        Indeed. Is there an organic cause? If so he may be “cured” by a simple surgery or pill. Should he be executed afterward to satisfy someone’s blood lust? As certain international fugitives might agree, “accused” is not “guilty.”

  6. Claire Benoit

    Everyones innocent until proven guilty -fair enough.

    But i personally believe some versions of “innocence” should be off the table for crimes like murder – most especially infanticide.

    so if someone else did this awful thing to hodges’ children, hes innocent. But insanity, intoxication etc etc are truly irrelevent for a crime like this. (At least they SHOULD be imho).

    the death penalty makes sense if hes guilty because its too expensive to keep him alive and truly theres no amount of time served that could pay the debt for the suffering hes inflicted upon the world.

    Plus most people daft enough to stay alive for decades in prison adjust. They get drugs (px or otherwise), change their sexual orientation, find pleasure in simple uselessness. Anyone with a shred of integrity would commit suicide.

    This guy probably doesnt have that. Why waste time and resources for this guy to be a blob of pickled worthlessness behind bars? Blah

    1. David Greenwald

      In order for someone to have liability for their actions, they have to understand that their actions are wrong. Insanity is not exactly a get out of jail free card.

        1. David Greenwald

          It’s pretty difficult to get found NGRI even if you are legitimately insane.  I’ve done stories about how the program actually works, it’s rigorous and there is no reason to believe that an individual would ever be released.

        2. David Greenwald

          From a 2011 Scientific American article: “Even when the defense succeeds, the acquitted usually end up with sentences similar to or longer than those for convictions. The main difference between an acquittal and conviction: those acquitted on the basis of insanity are usually sent to psychiatric hospitals rather than prisons.”

    2. Tia Will

      But insanity, intoxication etc etc are truly irrelevent for a crime like this. (At least they SHOULD be imho).”

      So where would a brain tumor fall on your spectrum of who should the state kill and who it should not kill ?

      There was a fascinating Star Trek Voyager episode that dealt directly with this issue. A man convicted of murder and sentenced to death was inadvertently found to have a brain tumor which had caused him to lose control of hostile impulses. The tumor was successfully removed, he was remorseful for his actions while under its influence and petitioned for his life. In the society in question, the family members of the deceased got to decide and they opted for execution even after hearing all the facts.

      Do we really want to base judgements on revenge, on our own judgement of who is worthless and who is not. There would be an awful lot of executions if, for example, those who believe that abortion is murder gained the ability to kill every woman who had had one & every doctor who had performed one as some would likely choose to do given the power.

      As you may have guessed, I am adamantly opposed to the death penalty for moral reasons. I do not believe that people should have the right to decide who lives and who dies whether it is one person with a belt, or 12 people in a jury room.


      1. Jim Hoch

        I base my judgement on the threat of future violence and the cost of confinement.

        “the family members of the deceased got to decide” This is very common in other parts of the world and can result in direct payments to the family who has lost their investment in the individual. “Blood Money”

  7. Claire Benoit

    That’s exactly why I cringe at the “innocence” presumption in cases like this.
    If you’re so insane or else prone to bouts of insanity so extreme that youd brutally murder someone, children no less (!), then your “innocence” is distantly secondary to the innocence of your victims.
    A swift economical and humane death sentence would be the most logical in every way. (Unless said psychopath could be a valuable living specimen for scientific research). But neither of these options exist in America presently. I do hope that changes.

    (Well if hes sent to a psychiatric hospital I hope its as a “lab rat” even if under false pretenses. Id never complain.

    Btw I happen to know one very mentally ill man who constantly brags that if he ever kills someone he should not be held to the same standard as a non-mentally ill person. Yuck. Some of these nuts KNOW they can get away with murder and yet our culture coddles and enables them to do just that way too often!

    1. Howard P

      Yes… and

      (Well if hes (sic) sent to a psychiatric hospital I hope its as a “lab rat” even if under false pretenses. Id (sic) never complain.)

      Sounds like much of the German population in the late 1930’s, 1940’s who thought  being Jewish, Catholic, gay, Roma could be investigated/cured… we now know that as the worst of the holocaust…

      Think the name as Mengele..

      Mengele was a member of the team of doctors responsible for the selection of victims to be killed in the gas chambers and for performing deadly human experiments on prisoners.

      Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Mengele


    2. John Hobbs

      Your lack of generosity toward others while enjoying the kindness of perhaps misguided benefactors is astoundingly churlish. This attitude casts considerable doubt in my mind about your narrative of victimization.

      1. Howard P

        ” lack of generosity“? in this matter?  Wrong word… unless you are bucking for an insanity defense…

        It is far (very far, extremely far) from being apparent that the alleged perp is worthy of generosity, compassion, sympathy or anything other than due process…

        I disagree with the poster’s antipathy, but rest assured the ONLY thing I believe the accused is entitled to is due process… and that, barely… my perfect “out” for serving on the jury who will hear the case… I’d be dismissed in a NY second… have already formed my opinion.

        The ‘mild’ flavor of ‘kettle calling pot black’… je d’accord

  8. Claire Benoit

    John youre an… interesting person

    this guy brutally murdered three children. Something that the other person involved in my problem you love to reference is not above doing.

    Imagine all you want since you seem to be semi-obsessed with my family. Look at the adjudicated facts of my case and return with your same idiocy.

    Im very compassionate and generous in forgiveness to people who do anything EXCEPT harm defenseless people – most especially children.

    doubt whatever you want. Any “generosity” ive “enjoyed” is your own personal fantasy. Enjoy it.

    A mom protecting her children from a court run amok likened to a murderer of three kids. You losers should not be around children.

    I wont be commenting on the DV any longer. Congrats for agitating me away. Bless and my heart to these dead children and their mom.

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