Prosecutors in California have accused 32-year-old Robert Hodges of killing his three children. The prosecutors claim that Hodges used a belt to kill two of his three children last week in a domestic violence incident. The 32-year-old, however, has pleaded not guilty in court and has refused to accept the multiple first-degree murder charges brought against him by prosecutors. He pleaded not guilty during his September 18 court appearance.

During his appearance at the court, Robert stood in the trial box, expressionless as the hearing was conducted in front of Judge Arvid Johnson.

The hearing took place at the Yolo Superior Court, and the Californian man avoided making eye contact with the crowd in the court room. His wife’s family members were also present at the trial. The prosecutors have charged Hodges with attempted murder of his wife Mai Sheng Hodges and murder of their three children, Kelvin, Julia, and Lucas. While Kelvin and Julia were 11 and 9 years old, respectively, Lucas was just 7 months old.

California father kills his three children

Jeff Reisig, the Yolo County District Attorney, has described the accused’s alleged crimes as deliberate, willful, and premeditated. He further revealed that the older siblings were killed by a belt, while it is still uncertain as to how the seven-month-old baby was murdered.

The attorney mentioned that a weapon was not used for killing the toddler. The prosecutor states that Robert premeditated the killing of his three children, and if proven, it will result in capital punishment. However, the prosecutor is yet to decide if he wants to decree the death penalty.

Regardless of the fact whether Reisig wants to pursue capital punishment or not, Hodges will face three “special circumstance” charges accusing him of committing multiple murders, as well as lying.

These special circumstance charges make capital punishment a possibility. For the unfamiliar, there are 22 special circumstances in California law for first-degree murder that can escalate a punishment to life sentence in prison without parole or the death penalty. After the September 18 court hearing, Reisig privately met the members of the Sheng family.

However, while leaving the meeting, the family refrained from speaking to the press.

What happened on the fateful night?

The police revealed Hodges was arrested by a highway patrol officer late on September 13 near the intersection of Interstate 80 and West El Camino Avenue. The arrest was made when the police started searching for him in response to a domestic abuse report. It was during this investigation that the dead children were discovered in the apartment. Neighbors claim that Robert also attempted to kill his wife, which is when she ran out from the family’s second-floor apartment. The police suspect that the accused smothered his children after his wife fled the building.