Advertisement
  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.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Harold Fritz, 75, was awarded the nation's highest and rarest honor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in 1969. The Army lieutenant saved his platoon during an ambush in the Vietnam war. He spoke to students at Farnell Middle School in Tampa. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times
    Harold Fritz wanted to talk about teachers’ salaries and education. The kids wanted selfies with one of the 71 living recipients of the nation’s highest honor.
  2. PDQ's new Trinity location features a self-serve sauce bar with seven signature sauces perfect for dipping chicken tenders. Courtesy of PDQ
    Both chains are expanding locally and held grand opening celebrations this month with giveaways and free food.
  3. Casey Cane has resigned as chair of Pinellas County’s Housing Finance Authority in the wake of a Tampa Bay Times story about his failure to disclose an arrest for a financial felony when he was 19. He also serves as a Palm Harbor fire commissioner. Casey Cane
    Casey Cane failed to disclose his arrest for a financial felony in 2006. He said he didn’t think he had to reveal that information.
  4. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor speaks to about 75 people Tuesday at a city conference on innovation and collaboration. (City of Tampa photo by Janelle McGregor) Janelle McGregor
    City Hall brought together startups and the nonprofits that nurture them for a discussion of possible ideas to improve city operations and service.
  5. Scott Purcell, a senior geophysicist with GeoView, left, and Mike Wightman, president of GeoView, use ground-penetrating radar to scan a portion of King High School campus in search for Ridgewood Cemetery. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Preliminary answers from the ground-penetrating radar could come as soon as next week.
  6. A federal judge gas stayed the Nov. 7 execution of death row inmate James Dailey, 73, for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. Tampa Bay Times
    Dailey was set to be put to death Nov. 7. A judge ordered his execution to be postponed to give his attorneys time to present their claims. But the state can appeal.
  7. Markeith Loyd, suspected of fatally shooting a Florida police officer, attends his initial court appearance Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, at the Orange County Jail, in Orlando, Fla. Loyd spoke out of turn and was defiant during the appearance on charges of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend. He was injured during his arrest Tuesday night following a weeklong manhunt.
    The same jury found Loyd guilty last week of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting 24-year-old Sade Dixon outside her home in 2016.
  8. The new owner of a dilapidated mobile home park on Gandy Boulevard has sued the city of Tampa over a record-setting fine levied against the property for a massive tree removal in August. [CHARLIE FRAGO | Times]
    A Gandy Boulevard mobile home park owner is suing the city of Tampa over a record $420,000 fine .
  9. Dashboard camera video shows a Tampa police cruiser pursuing Dusharn Weems through a parking lot. A second later, Weems is fatally injured when the car strikes him. Courtesy Haydee Oropesa
    The family of Dusharn Weems, 23, claims an officer intentionally struck him after he was spotted driving a stolen car.
  10. Evangeline Cummings posted a video on Twitter of what appears to be a wasp stinging a coral snake that was dangling from a branch attempting to eat a dead snake. Evangeline Cummings/Twitter
    A coral snake found that out the hard way and a Florida woman caught it all on camera.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement