johnny hoskins
johnny hoskins

Johnny Hoskins was sentenced to death by the State of Florida for the sexual assault and murder of an eighty one year old woman. According to court documents Johnny Hoskins would break into his neighbors home and sexually assault and murder 81 year old Dorothy Berger. Johnny Hoskins would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Florida Death Row Inmate List

Johnny Hoskins 2021 Information

DC Number:962032
Birth Date:10/31/1963
Initial Receipt Date:11/04/1994
Current Facility:UNION C.I.
Current Custody:MAXIMUM
Current Release Date:DEATH SENTENCE

Johnny Hoskins More News

On Sunday, October 18, 1992, police went to eighty-year-old Dorothy Berger’s home after neighbors discovered that her door was open but no one was home.   The television and air-conditioning were on;  a small amount of blood, a bent pair of eyeglasses, and a green hand towel were on the bed;  several items in the room appeared to be out of place;  a shoe impression was visible in the dust on the floor;  and Berger’s car was gone.   There was no sign of forced entry.   The victim had last been heard from around 6:30 p.m. the previous evening.

Hoskins lived with his girlfriend next door to the victim.   On the evening of October 17, a witness saw him driving a car similar to the victim’s.   At about 5 a.m. the next morning, Hoskins arrived at his parents’ house in Georgia driving that same car.   After he arrived, he borrowed a shovel and left.   He returned about twenty minutes later.   On Monday, October 19, he was stopped in Georgia for a traffic violation.   Police later determined that the car he was driving belonged to the victim.   Police found vegetation and blood in the trunk of the car.   Thereafter, Hoskins’s father led police to an area near his home where the type of vegetation found in the trunk grew.   The victim was discovered there in a grave with her hands tied behind her back and a gag in her mouth.

Further examination revealed that the victim had been raped;  had numerous injuries to her body;  had several blows to her head, one of which likely caused her to become unconscious;  and had died of strangulation, which occurred after the sexual battery and beating.   DNA analysis revealed that the semen found on the victim and on the victim’s bed sheet could have come from Hoskins.

The jury convicted Hoskins of first-degree murder, burglary of a dwelling, sexual battery with physical force, kidnapping, and robbery, and the circuit court sentenced him to death for the first-degree murder.  Hoskins, 702 So.2d at 203.   The trial court set aside the original penalty phase proceeding.  Id. at 204.   Before the second proceeding, at the suggestion of defendant’s mental health expert (Dr. Krop), the defense requested neurological testing to develop mitigating mental health evidence.   The trial judge denied the request.  Id. In the second penalty phase proceeding, the jury unanimously recommended, and the trial judge imposed, a death sentence.  Id. On appeal, we affirmed Hoskins’s convictions and the sentences, except the death sentence.1  As to the death sentence, we remanded for a PET scan and subsequent evidentiary hearing to determine whether the PET scan showed an abnormality and, if so, whether the results caused Dr. Krop to change his testimony.  Id. at 210-11.   The trial judge concluded that the PET scan showed an abnormality and that (as conceded by the State) Dr. Krop’s testimony changed as a result.  Hoskins v. State, 735 So.2d 1281, 1281 (Fla.1999).   The trial court did not reach the validity of the PET scan or conduct a hearing pursuant to Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013, 1014 (D.C.Cir.1923) (requiring new or novel scientific principles to “have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs”).  735 So.2d at 1281 n. 1. Based on the trial court’s findings, we vacated the death sentence and remanded for a new penalty phase proceeding, with the validity of the PET scan and Frye issues to be considered as part of the new sentencing proceeding.  Id. The trial court held a Frye hearing and overruled the State’s objection to the admissibility of the PET scan evidence.

Following the new penalty phase proceeding, the jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1.   By special interrogatories, the jury found three aggravating circumstances:  (1) the capital felony was committed during the course of or in flight after committing the crimes of robbery, sexual battery, or kidnapping (vote of 12-0);  (2) the capital felony was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest (vote of 12-0);  and (3) the capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel (HAC) (vote of 10-2).   The trial court found the same aggravating circumstances had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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