1. News

Man gets death in 2006 stabbing of Land O'Lakes diner cook

Derral Wayne Hodgkins is sentenced to death Friday in Dade City for the murder of Teresa Lodge in 2006. Hodgkins was on lifetime probation when he went to the 46-year-old’s apartment, choking and fatally stabbing her.
Published Apr. 27, 2013

DADE CITY — Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa had a couple of legally valid reasons to sentence Derral Wayne Hodgkins to death for choking and fatally stabbing Teresa Lodge.

Hodgkins was on lifetime probation when he went to Lodge's apartment in 2006 and murdered the 46-year-old diner cook. Just two years earlier, he finished serving nearly 17 years for the kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Hillsborough girl, whose head he backed over with his car before leaving her for dead.

Under Florida law, Siracusa said, the probation and previous violent crime were both reason enough for Hodgkins to die. But a third circumstance, which the judge gave "great weight," was the heinous nature of Lodge's death.

She remained conscious as she died.

"Teresa Lodge lived long enough in the defendant's grasp after the blows to the head to realize she was being murdered," Siracusa wrote in his 10-page order.

The judge said those factors outweighed defense testimony that Hodgkins was brain damaged, that his stepfather abused him or that family members loved him.

And so, on Friday morning, in a small, quiet courtroom with only bailiffs and court employees, Siracusa ordered Hodgkins to be executed "in the manner prescribed by law."

Hodgkins showed no emotion. No family members attended the hearing for Lodge, who had known Hodgkins years earlier and had exchanged letters with him while he was in prison.

Sometime on Sept. 27, 2006, Hodgkins went to Lodge's lakefront apartment. Prosecutors say he got into a struggle with Lodge and strangled her. As she lay unconscious on her bedroom floor, he stabbed her seven times in the chest.

More than a year passed before he was arrested. That's when tests found Hodgkins' DNA in scrapings taken from under Lodge's fingernails. Prosecutors said it got there as Lodge clawed and scratched.

The case went to court in January 2011 but ended in a mistrial after a state's witness mentioned Hodgkins' rape conviction. Seven months later, a new jury convicted Hodgkins of first-degree murder By a 7-5 vote, jurors recommended the death penalty.

Then the hearings stretched out as attorneys argued his fate. In October, Hodgkins' attorneys made a last-ditch attempt to keep their client off death row by arguing that he suffered from brain abnormalities.

Two psychologists testified that parts of Hodgkins' brain were smaller than normal, and he had poor impulse control.

Prosecutors pointed to state files in which Hodgkins denied any type of mental health problem in 1985, as well as a 1988 screening in which he denied any hospitalization for mental illness. When he was put in solitary confinement, he didn't deteriorate emotionally, records showed.

Prosecutors also noted Hodgkins managed to control himself for the two years he was out of prison, before killing Lodge.


  1. A rainbow shines over Coffee Pot Bayou after an afternoon rain shower on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 in Coffee Pot Bayou. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times "LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    One reader wanted to know. We tried to find out.
  2. A retired Orlando Police Department officer is the subject of an internal affairs investigation after he arrested two elementary school students late last week without his watch commander’s approval. Facebook
    Per department policy, officers are required to receive approval from a manager before arresting anyone under the age of 12.
  3. Rabbi Reb Tuviah (Paul Schreiber) is rarely seen without his guitar. He will sing at the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at Temple Beth David in Spring Hill. Paul Schreiber
  4. Waves crash in front of an American flag that is planted on a jetty during a high surf from the Atlantic Ocean, in advance of the potential arrival of Hurricane Dorian, in Vero Beach on Sept. 2. GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    Their efforts underscore the risks of a warming planet for the state’s future.
  5. The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm advisory for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Tropical Storm Karen currently has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour. National Weather Service
    A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for the eastern Caribbean
  6. A Thomas Cook plane on the tarmac at Gatwick Airport in Sussex, England Monday. British tour company Thomas Cook collapsed early Monday after failing to secure emergency funding, leaving tens of thousands of vacationers stranded abroad. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP) STEVE PARSONS  |  AP
    The collapse of the firm will have sweeping effects across the entire European and North African tourism industry and elsewhere.
  7. Natalie D'Alessandro and Izaac Deal break out into dance during the inaugural Pride Festival in 2018 in downtown New Port Richey. BY MICHELE MILLER  |  Michele Miller, Times Staff
    New Port Richey gathering will feature a week of lead-up events.
  8. When police officers arrived at the home, they found the man dead from an apparent gunshot wound on the back patio of the house. Port St. Lucie Police Department/Facebook
    The man called dispatchers late Saturday to say he had fatally shot his wife and her boyfriend, and that there were two children inside the home.
  9. Dear Penny: Will bad credit kill my chances of landing my dream job? FRANCESCORIDOLFI.COM  |  Getty Images/iStockphoto
    Be up front about your circumstances.