Attempted homicide suspect defers plea again |

Attempted homicide suspect defers plea again

A Grass Valley man charged with attempted murder delayed entering a plea in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday after his court-appointed attorney announced his plans to retire.

Eric Craig Hodges, 36, allegedly went to a residence on Maiden Lane Nov. 30, 2012, and attacked the couple who live there with a hammer.

The attack allegedly was premeditated and related to a potential abusive situation dating back to Hodges' childhood.

The 48-year-old male victim sustained lacerations to the head; his 41-year-old wife had a fractured jaw and lacerations to the face and head.

Hodges was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, second-degree burglary and making criminal threats and is being held without bail.

Since his incarceration, Hodges has incurred new charges of battery causing serious bodily injury after allegedly breaking a cellmate's jaw in January.

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After the Nevada County Public Defender's office declared a conflict of interest, attorney Gary Gordon had been appointed to represent Hodges. But Gordon asked to withdraw from the case during a hearing Thursday, and Larry Montgomery was appointed in his stead.

Montgomery deferred entering a plea on behalf of Hodges until April 4.

In other court news

An Alta Sierra man who pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child younger than 18 was sentenced to one year in county jail and three years supervised probation. He also must register as a sex offender.

John Orozco initially had been charged with four felony counts in February 2012, but after a preliminary hearing in June, insufficient evidence was found in one count. The allegations centered around inappropriate behavior allegedly exhibited by Orozco toward several teenage girls, who were school friends of his daughter.

In subsequent hearings, the court dismissed an allegation of a prior offense and reduced Orozco's charges to misdemeanors.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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