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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
HodgesWillie P368141st Circuit PDCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
3/16/2009FSC09-468Direct Appeal
3/16/2009FSC09-468Status Conference
10/8/2009FSC09-468Initial Brief
1/12/2010FSC09-468Answer Brief
6/7/2010FSC09-468Oral Argument
12/2/2010FSC09-468Disposition Affirmed
12/6/2010FSC09-468Motion for Rehearing
2/23/2011FSC09-468Rehearing Denied

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
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The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates thisinformation regularly.  This information; however, is subject to changeand may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not berelied upon for statistical or legal purposes. 


HODGES, Willie James (Black/Male)

DC# P36814

DOB:  06/19/60


­­­First Judicial Circuit, Escambia County Case #03-05683-CF

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Terry D. Terrell

Attorney, Trial: Jerry T. Allred – Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: David A. Davis – Assistant PublicDefender


Date of Offense:  12/19/2001

Date of Sentence:   02/12/2009



Circumstances of Offense:


On February 12, 2009, Willie James Hodges was convicted andsentenced to death for the murder of Patricia Belanger.  On December 19,2001, Hodges entered Belanger’s home, fatally stabbed and bludgeoned her, andthen fled through a window.


The body was found by several of Belanger’s relatives. Stanley Clinton Taylor, testified that when he and his family arrived atBelanger’s home, her front door was closed and locked.  Debra Taylor,Belanger’s daughter, used her key to unlock the door, but after the door wasunlocked, it would not open.  After walking around to the back of thehouse, Stanley returned to the front door and found it completely closed andagain locked. Stanley unlocked the door again, but, this time, his stepson saidhe saw someone moving inside the house and, at about the same moment, he heardglass break.  Stanley was finally able to enter the house through the doorand moved the chair that was blocking it.  Once the door was open, Stanleysaw Belanger lying face down in the dining room.  Her jacket was wrappedaround her head and her pants were pulled down around her legs.

Debra testified that, as she heard the glass breaking, shesaw a man run from the house and “hurtle” the fence in Belanger’s yard. He wore a blue and gray jacket, a black hood that was like a ski mask, anddungaree-style jeans.


Stanley and Joe called 911.  An officer with theEscambia County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO), was dispatched to Belanger’shome.  After he was told that a man was seen fleeing from the house, hecalled for a K-9 unit.  Another officer and his canine partner arrived 15minutes later. They then started to track the suspect from the east side of theresidence where a window was broken. The officer followed the canine partnerover fences, and found white socks on them.  Then, the officer followedhis dog through a swampy area, a clay pit, a wooded area, and an openfield.  On the way, the officer found a shoe and footprints. As theyreturned to the Belanger’s home, the officer found another shoe and a “Member’sOnly” jacket.


Several law enforcement officers testified about the crimescene at the home.  When the officers arrived, Belanger was lying facedown in the dining room.  A claw hammer and a brown leather braided beltwere found near the body.  A bedroom window on the right side of the housewas broken, and a knife and several photographs were on the ground outside thewindow.  The knife had a black plastic handle, while the knives inBelanger’s kitchen had only wooden handles.  In the room where the windowwas broken, a drawer was found that was filled with crew-style white sockssimilar to socks found by the K-9 officer.


The Chief Medical Examiner found two lacerations onBelanger’s head and fractures to her skull under the lacerations.  Theexaminer opined that the head injuries were consistent with having beeninflicted by a hammer and also consistent with the hammer in question.  Healso testified about an incise wound that was four and three-quarter inches inlength and a stab wound to Belanger’s neck, which had cut into her jugularvein.  He opined that the neck wounds were the correct shape and depth tohave been caused by the steak knife in evidence. The examiner concludedthat the manner of death was homicide and the cause of death was related to thewounds inflicted by the hammer and the knife.


Various witnessesconnected Hodges to the jacket, shoes, belt, knife, and photographs found inand near Belanger’s home.


Several analyststestified about the DNA testing of physical evidence collected from the Belangercrime scene.  The DNA profile developed from the blood on one of the socksfound by the K-9 officer was the same as Hodge’s known DNA profile on allthirteen markers, and partial DNA profiles developed from the other sock werealso consistent with Hodges’ known DNA profile.  Dr Martin Tracy,professor of biological sciences at Florida International University in Miami,testified that the chances of the DNA (on one of the socks) belonging tosomeone else was one in 990 quadrillion. 


In addition to evidenceabout the Belanger homicide, the State introduced evidence of a collateralhomicide pursuant to Williams v. State, 110 So. 2d 654 (Fla. 1959).Additionally, two witnesses (one was a cellmate in the Escambia County Jail)testified that Hodges confessed to them that he had committed two murders.


On March 7, 2008, a juryfound Hodges guilty of first-degree murder by general verdict.  The trialcourt then conducted a penalty phase from March 17 to March 20, 2008.


On March 20, 2008, by avote of ten to two, the jury recommended a death sentence.


Trial Summary:


12/17/03                     Indicted asfollows:

                                                 CountI:           First-DegreeMurder with Weapon

03/07/08                     Juryreturned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

03/20/08                     Juryrecommended death by a vote of 10-2

02/12/09         Sentenced as follows:

                                                 CountI:           First-DegreeMurder with Weapon – Death



Current Prison Sentence History:

Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Prison Sentence Length









Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 09-468

2010 So.3d WL 4878858(Fla. 2010)


03/16/09         Appeal filed

12/02/10         Appeal denied

12/06/10         Motion for Rehearing

02/23/11          Rehearingdenied

03/11/11          Mandate



Case Information:


On 03/16/09, Hodges filed a Direct Appeal to the FloridaSupreme Court.  The following issues were raised: failing to allow thejury to determine if Hodges was mentally retarded, finding that Hodges was notmentally retarded, ruling that the state could discuss the collateral crimeevidence during its rebuttal argument, allowing the collateral crime evidenceto become a feature of the trial, refusing to allow Hodges to waive apenalty-phase jury, and denying Hodges’ motion to bar a death sentence based onRing v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002).  On 12/06/10, the FloridaSupreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentence of the lower court.  Amotion for rehearing was submitted on 12/06/10.  This motion was denied on02/23/11.  The Florida Supreme Court issued a mandate on 03/11/11.





Report Date:  02/16/11           CAR

Approved:      02/21/11          CAR

Updated:        03/14/11         CAR