Melvin Hodges was sentenced to death by the State of Alabama for a murder committed during a robbery. According to court documents Melvin Hodges would rob a restaurant and would kidnap two of the workers who were later beaten to death in the woods. Melvin Hodges would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Melvin Hodges 2021 Information
|HODGES, MELVIN GENE
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“The State’s evidence tended to show the following. On January 5, 1998, two hunters discovered the nude body of Beth Seaton on the side of County Road 26 in Macon County. The coroner testified that Seaton died as a result of a combination of blunt-force injuries to her head, neck, chest, and abdomen, the most significant being the crushing injuries to her chest and abdomen, which resulted from having been run over by a vehicle. Tire marks ran vertically up and down Seaton’s back. A name tag from the Golden Corral Restaurant with Hodges’s name on it was found near Seaton’s body.
“Hodges and Seaton were coworkers at the Golden Corral Restaurant in Opelika. Seaton was a supervisor, and one of her duties was to close the restaurant. Hodges was a crew leader at the restaurant. On January 5, 1998, Trina Eady, another employee at Golden Corral, and Hodges arrived to open the restaurant. The alarm system was deactivated and the safe was open. There was no evidence of a forced entry. They telephoned police.
“An investigation led police to Marlo Murph. Murph testified at trial that Hodges suggested robbing the Golden Corral. He said that Hodges told him that Sunday night was the best time because there would be a lot of money in the safe. Murph said that Hodges got the pistol used to murder Seaton from Greg Holstick. The two planned to get to the restaurant while Seaton was closing up. According to Murph, their plans went awry. When they arrived at the restaurant they saw Seaton driving away in her van. They followed the van and were able to get Seaton to pull over. While Hodges was talking to her, Murph said, he entered the van and pointed a gun at her. The two then forced her to drive back to the Golden Corral and open the safe. Murph and Hodges then forced Seaton to drive her van around the area. Murph testified that Seaton sensed that something was going to happen; he stated that she started taking off her clothes and saying that she would have sex with them if they did not hurt her. They eventually made her pull the vehicle over. Murph testified that Hodges said that Seaton knew too much. Hodges then pulled Seaton out of the van and began hitting and choking her. Murph said that while Hodges was holding her, he hit Seaton with a pistol. Murph testified that when he realized what Hodges was going to do he walked away. He said that Hodges got into the driver’s seat in Seaton’s van and ran over Seaton about four times, back and forth. The two then left in Seaton’s van. Murph said that they drove around for several minutes and Hodges realized that his Golden Corral name tag was missing. The two tried to return to where they had left the body, but they were lost and running out of gas. Murph said that he threw Seaton’s purse out of the window near the rest area in Tuskegee and that they parked Seaton’s van at Mount Olive Baptist Church. Hodges’s clothes were covered in blood so he gave them to Murph to dispose of. Murph led police to where he had disposed of Hodges’s clothes. Murph testified that Hodges gave him $2,500 for his part in the robbery/murder. (Murph had $1,427 in his possession at the time of his arrest.)
“Kitt Porter, Hodges’s aunt, testified that, on January 5, 1998, she drove Hodges to Tuskegee. She said that he told her that police had discovered his Golden Corral name tag at the murder scene. Porter testified that Hodges admitted to her that he had robbed and killed Seaton. He told her about the murder-an account that corroborated Murph’s account in almost all respects. Porter testified that Hodges told her that he gave $5,000 to Murph for his part in the robbery/murder.
“Several witnesses also testified that the day after the robbery/murder Hodges had a large quantity of money. Hodges himself testified that he gave his girlfriend $600. Forensic evidence connected Hodges to the robbery/murder. A cigarette butt recovered from Seaton’s van contained saliva, the DNA of which matched Hodges’s. Also, at the time of Hodges’s arrest he had blood on his watch and ring. Furthermore, blood found on the clothes that Murph had discarded for Hodges matched Seaton’s DNA.
“Hodges testified in his own defense and offered his own version of the facts surrounding Seaton’s murder. Hodges testified that he orchestrated the robbery and enlisted the help of Craig Hicks, Greg Holstick, and Marlo Murph. Hodges testified that, on the night of the intended robbery, Hicks did not show up and they had to revise their plans. He said that he planned to be at his apartment so that he would not be implicated in the robbery. He said that he wondered what was taking so long and went across the street from the Golden Corral to see what was happening. Hodges further testified that after about one hour Greg Holstick returned and said that they had to get rid of Seaton because she knew them. (Hodges had previously introduced Holstick to Seaton.) Hodges said that Holstick gave him $600. Hodges said that he was not present at the time of the robbery or the murder and that he knew nothing about the murder. He said that the State’s witnesses were all lying.”