It was just a few months ago that Robert Hodges killed his three children and attempted to kill his wife. And now it is over with a guilty plea that will eliminate the possibility of a death penalty.
Instead, Mr. Hodges will face life in prison without the possibility of parole for the September 13 killings of his family. According to a confession that he gave to police, the killings were motivated by family financial problems.
In a statement from the DA’s office, it said: “The District Attorney carefully considered all of the factors in aggravation and mitigation under California law related to the punishment. Ultimately, the surviving family’s desire for a swift and certain conclusion to this heartbreaking case led us to the conclusion that this resolution was most appropriate. The defendant will die in prison.”
The DA had not determined whether it would seek the death penalty against the 32-year-old defendant, but he faced special-circumstance allegations of multiple murders and lying in wait, which would have made him eligible.
Ultimately, as indicated above, the DA decided that “the surviving family’s desire for a swift and certain conclusion to this heartbreaking case led us to the conclusion that this resolution was most appropriate. The defendant will die in prison.”
On the other hand, it wasn’t only the family’s wishes, as the defense had approached prosecutors with the desire for a plea agreement. Mr. Hodges wanted to take responsibility and avoid putting the family through a lengthy trial.
His defense attorney Ron Johnson indicated previously that the death penalty would be inappropriate for Mr. Hodges, given his lack of criminal history along with the fact that he simply snapped due to the pressure of the financial situation coupled with his deteriorating mental health conditions.
Mr. Hodges will now be sentenced on January 19, 2018.
—David M. Greenwald reporting