DADE CITY — Jurors in the first-degree murder case of Derral Wayne Hodgkins heard testimony Thursday from the medical examiner who did the autopsy of Teresa Lodge, a diner cook found murdered in her Land O'Lakes apartment in 2006.
Lodge had been stabbed and strangled, and authorities say Hodgkins, a prison releasee who had known Lodge years earlier, was the killer. They found his DNA under her fingernails — evidence of the struggle that ended in her death, they say.
The jury also heard a taped interview with sheriff's detectives in which Hodgkins repeatedly changed his story about when he'd last seen Lodge, 46.
The jury is expected to begin deliberating today. If Hodgkins is convicted of first-degree murder, the jury will reconvene to consider if he should be sentenced to life in prison or face the death penalty.