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Posts Tagged ‘Hodgkinson’

When the shooter is a neighbor

In journalism on June 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Among other things, here’s what readers of the Belleville, Ill., News-Democrat learned about their infamous hometown killer in the wake of James T. Hodgkinson’s violent outburst at a suburban Washington, D.C. baseball diamond:

“The Hodgkinsons’ foster daughter, Wanda Ashley Stock, killed herself at the age of 17 in a brutal manner: Ashley doused herself with gasoline and set herself on fire inside her car on a rural road south of Belleville.”

And this: “Then, in December 2002, the Hodgkinsons assumed legal guardianship for their 12-year-old great-niece, Cathy Lynn Putnam. Cathy’s biological parents’ rights had been revoked, and she had been in foster care or with the Hodgkinsons since she was 4 years old. Her name was eventually changed to Cathy Hodgkinson.”

The national newspapers and the network television outfits had video from the scene and stand-up interviews with congressmen. It was compelling … but the local paper had insight into the mind of a killer.

Poynter talked to editors at the 30,000-circulation McClatchy paper. They explained the entire staff put down what they were doing and picked up the Hodgkinson story just as soon as they heard about the shooting. As a result, they found a host of tidbits that they were uniquely positioned to find. A DUI, a charge of resisting arrest. The time his shotgun was confiscated after an altercation. … Read the rest of this entry »