Pasco County Condemned Killer Freed


LAKE BUTLER, Fla. (AP) — Less than three years after having been sentenced to death row, a Pasco County man is now free.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that 56-year-old Derral W. Hodgkins was released Monday from the Union Correctional Institution in Union County.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in June that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Derral Hodgkins for the 2006 fatal stabbing of his former girlfriend, 46-year-old Teresa Lodge.

The court said the fact that Hodgkins’ skin was found under Lodge’s fingernails raises suspicion, but it wasn’t enough to convict Hodgkins.

Hodgkins will have to register with county law enforcement at least twice a year as a sexual offender after having spent 17 years in prison for the violent sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in Hillsborough County in 1988.