Convicted Clay County killer could be resentenced

Ellington Responds to Re-sentencing Case
Published: Mar. 30, 2017 at 7:41 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2017 at 6:41 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A former Rector man who shot and killed his family, then held parties while their dead bodies lay just a few feet away, could find out Friday if he will spend the rest of his life in prison or get an early release.

In October 1995, Aaron Hodge took a gun and shot his mother, half-sister, and step dad each in the head at their home in Rector.

He was 17 years old.

Police say he then spent the following week holding parties in a garage apartment attached to the house, just feet from where the bodies lay decomposing.

Hodge, who at that time went by his stepdad's last name of Flick, told concerned neighbors and police that the family had traveled to Florida without him.

A week later, when police questioned him about using his stepdad's truck and credit cards around town, Hodge admitted to killing his family because he was mad at his stepfather.

The following year a Craighead County jury convicted Hodge to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each count of capital murder.

Since then, he has been housed in maximum security at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Marianna.

Until Thursday, when he was brought back to Jonesboro and locked into the Craighead County Detention Center to await a resentencing hearing.

In 2012 the United States Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional.

Following that decision, Lee County Circuit Court Judge L.T. Simes ordered new sentencing hearings for Hodge and James Grubbs.

The hearing Friday only lasted a few minutes.

Hodge's case was continued until May 12. That is when he will be in court next.

A sentencing trial before a jury is set for May 22-26.

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said he would argue that the resentencing trial is unnecessary and that a state law makes a resentencing a moot point.

If the judge approves those motions, she would modify the old sentence to make it constitutional instead of going before a jury.

"I have a lot of folks from Clay County ask about the case, especially folks around the Rector area and we are just going to assure them that we do our best to see that Mr. Hodge fulfill the sentence that was originally sentenced to him," Ellington said.

Hodge, who is now 38 years old, told the judge he wanted to represent himself during these proceedings, but she advised against it.

She has directed that he has a public defender for now and he can make a final decision at the next court date.

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