WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
A 69-year-old James City County man was found guilty of one felony count of unlawful wounding in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
William R. Hodge was arrested in November 2014 after he beat a woman he knew with a hammer at a home in the Fox Ridge neighborhood.
The woman suffered a few lumps and lacerations on the back of her head as a result of the attack.
Hodge was charged with felony maiming and entered a plea of no contest during a hearing in July. The judge at that time decided to delay making a finding of guilt until after a pre-sentence report could be issued.
At Wednesday’s sentencing, a probation officer presented several possible courses of treatment for Hodge, who was diagnosed with severe depression while incarcerated over the course of the past year.
In addition to depression, which may have played a role in the attack, Hodge also suffers from several physical ailments. Leigh Major, Hodge’s attorney, asked Judge Michael McGinty to consider releasing him from jail at this time due to the frailty of his condition, and the prosecution did not object.
While all parties were in agreement that it would not be beneficial for Hodge to remain incarcerated, the court was asked to consider finding him guilty of various different reduced charges based on how different convictions would affect both Hodge’s access to probation services and his ability to continue to collect social security and retirement benefits.
Though both Major and the victim asked the judge to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, McGinty ultimately decided it was necessary to find Hodge guilty of a felony in order to make him eligible for intensive supervision by probation services.
“Paramount in the court’s mind is making sure [the victim] is protected,” McGinty said.
McGinty reduced the felony maiming charge to felony unlawful wounding and sentenced Hodge to five years in prison, with all but time served suspended for a period of 15 years.
Hodge will also remain on intense supervised probation for 15 years, during which time he will be required to undergo a clinical assessment at Colonial Behavioral Health and adhere to whatever treatments, programs, counseling sessions and medications they recommend to him.