A 5th Circuit judge set bail Tuesday at $800,000 for a transient booked into jail in the shooting death last Friday of a pregnant Kearns woman.
Charles Kenneth Hodges, 44, was arraigned before Judge Eleanor Van Sciver, who ruled there was enough probable cause to hold Hodges until 9:30 a.m. Friday, the deadline she set for prosecutors to file homicide and robbery charges.Hodges a slender man with muscular, tattooed arms and collar-length silver-gray hair was arrested Monday night following a valley-wide dragnet by police, who acted on leads from a "one-in-a-million" photograph, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Pete Hayward.
A transient who has been in the Salt Lake area for several months, Hodges was taken into custody without incident about 7:30 p.m. at an apartment at 393 E. 3360 South. He was booked into the county jail for investigation of first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated robbery and on a California fugitive warrant charging him with property crimes.
Hodges, who has an extensive criminal history, is being investigated in the death of Anna Holmes, 31, who was buried Tuesday afternoon.
A 36-year-old woman at the apartment where Hodges was located was also questioned Monday night and booked into jail for parole violations, according to jail records.
Hayward said Tuesday that detectives will talk to a few other people and more arrests are possible.
Holmes, shot point blank in the head in front of her three daughters during the robbery, gave birth to a fourth daughter two minutes before being pronounced dead, officials said.
Officials recovered a large-caliber bullet at the video store but found no firearm or other evidence at Hodges' residence, Hayward said.
Detectives identified Hodges after a Salt Lake police officer questioned and photographed a man in Liberty Park Sunday afternoon. Officers went to the park after receiving an anonymous tip that a man fitting the gunman's description was there. The tip was curious to police because no composite drawing or photograph of the suspect has been released to the public.
Salt Lake Police Officer Shane Jones took the "one-in-a-million" shot of Hodges. "There was nothing suspicious about him at all," Jones said, adding Hodges reacted calmly when he was confronted by police.
The photograph was placed among a group of photos of other suspects and shown Monday morning to witnesses to the murder. The witnesses quickly picked Hodges as the gunman, and detectives knew they had their big break in the case, officials said.
Monday afternoon, law enforcement officers from throughout the county were provided photographs of Hodges and set out en masse to search for him, checking west-side and downtown taverns, transient hangouts, parks, homeless shelters and blood plasma donor centers.
"It was some very good police work that led us to him," Hayward said.
By questioning "known associates" of Hodges who knew the transient's daily activities, sheriff's officers located him. Three detectives apprehended him without incident, Hayward said.
"We're very relieved by the fact we have an individual . . . in custody," Hayward said.
Hodges has a long criminal record in Salt Lake County and elsewhere, said Hayward, who remembers arresting Hodges 15 years ago.
"He's done everything you can think of," the sheriff said. According to records, Hodges has been arrested for assault on a police officer, burglary, forgery, weapons violations, parole violations, grand larceny, having a loaded gun in his vehicle, destruction of jail property, contempt of court, driving on revocation and assorted alcohol-related offenses. Hodges served time in Utah State Prison in the early 1970s.
The sheriff said Hodges became a suspect after Salt Lake police officer Mark Peck questioned the transient in Liberty Park. The transient, later identified as Hodges, told Peck he was "Scott Saxon," was originally from Eureka, Calif., and had been in Utah since December, according to a report written by Peck.
The man questioned in the park said he worked for a carpet-cleaning business in Provo and had recently been evicted from his ex-wife's home in Provo. He also said that he did not own a vehicle and had been sleeping on the streets.
Sheriff's officials asked reporters who learned early that Hodges was a suspect not to spread news of the developments, fearing that Hodges would leave town if he knew he had become the main suspect.
"We think he's still in this area. Just give us some time," Capt. Bob Jack said earlier in the day.
Witnesses of the shooting said there may have been an accomplice involved, and Hayward said detectives are continuing to investigate the possibility others were involved. It is speculated the anonymous tip on Hodges' whereabouts in Liberty Park could have originated from an accomplice.
"We want to be sure every person responsible in this matter is arrested," Hayward said.
Holmes was shopping with her three children and two neighbor children about 8:30 p.m. Friday at Voyager Video, 5448 S. 4220 West, when a bandit, for no apparent reason, placed a gun behind her left ear, fired and then said, "That'll take care of her."
Hayward said, "Of course this is a very, very barbaric act . . . and a tragedy totally uncalled for." The suspect did not tell authorities why Holmes was shot, Hayward said.
In addition to the murder/robbery at the video store, Hodges is being held in connection with two other robberies at restaurants in Kearns.