Belpre man pleads to trespassing, assault

A Belpre man who tried to break into his ex-girlfriend’s home and later hurt a Belpre Police Officer while repeatedly resisting arrest pleaded guilty Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

James C. Hodgson, 36, formerly of 107 Colonial Square, pleaded to two fourth-degree felonies-one for trespassing and one for assaulting a peace officer.

Hodgson reportedly first entered the woman’s home without permission when the father of her children was picking up the kids on Jan. 4, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

“The victim and defendant had been romantically involved and just a few days earlier had broken up,” said Rings.

After being sent home once, Hodgson returned, repeatedly ringing the doorbell and banging on the door. The woman locked herself in her bedroom and called 911. When she exited the bedroom, Hodgson had removed the screen from the window and was halfway into the apartment, said Rings.

“He was trying to put the screen back when the cops arrived,” said Rings.

Hodgson was immediately uncooperative with officers and had to be tased to be put in the vehicle. Back at the Belpre Police Department, Hodgson refused to move from in front of the holding cell door when officers were trying to transport him to the Washington County Jail. Several officers tried to push the door open with Hodgson pushing back on the other side, said Rings.

An officer eventually reached an arm inside the door in an attempt to tase Hodgson again.

“(Hodgson) pushed back as hard as he could, pinning his arm in the metal door frame,” said Rings.

Rings’ description of the incident at the apartment and Belpre headquarters was accurate to the best of Hodgson’s recollection, said his attorney Rolf Baumgartel.

“He was impaired at the time,” added Baumgartel.

In exchange for Hodgson’s guilty pleas to the two charge, a third charge-a third-degree felony for intimidation of a witness-was dropped.

Rings added that Hodgson had continued verbally abusing and threatening the officer who did transport him to the Washington County Jail, eventually causing the officer to pull over and call for an additional escort.

Baumgartel said they disagreed with Rings’ narrative of the intimidation count.

But because that charge was being dismissed, the point was moot, said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.

In addition to dropping the intimidation charge, Rings said the state would not oppose a timely judicial release request if Hodgson was sentenced to prison. Because of the nature of the crime-an officer was hurt-Rings said he thought Hodgson would be eligible for prison.

Lane noted that he also has the option to sentence Hodgson to community control

Hodgson is scheduled to be sentenced June 12 at 8 a.m.