Pulaski, Virginia: "There is no heart callus enough to remain unaffected by the facts of this case," Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney Justin Griffin said in a statement released following the sentencing of Adam Richard Hodge on Monday, August 8, 2022.
"The defendant's self-described parental discipline methods took these children through the cataract of evil. What he calls discipline, our office calls torture."
Hodge was accused of abusing his twin boys, then 12-years-old between January 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021. Hodge has been in jail since April 30, 2021.
On April 20, 2022, Hodge plead guilty to six class six felony charges of child abuse that could result in serious injury and two class four child abuse charges that did result in serious injuries.
State sentencing guidelines provided for sentences ranging between 1 year 7 months and three years seven months for the charges which Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Dina Branco called "wholly inadequate" in this case given the "heinous nature of the facts."
County Circuit Court Judge Bradley Finch agreed and deviated from the sentencing guidelines handing down a sentence of five years per count, to be served consecutively, for a total of 40 years.
That sentence however, will be suspended after 10 years with five years of probation.
When the twins were 11 months old, the paternal grandmother and her husband obtained custody. They told the court during the sentencing hearing, while testifying on behalf of the prosecution, that in the Fall of 2020 Hodge had sought to obtain 50/50 custody of the children but barred them from contact.
"The judge advised us to get visitation rights. We were in the process, but everything was backed up due to COVID. We didn't go back to court until May (2021), but by that time they were already back with us," she testified.
The grandfather told the court that when the children returned "things were just not right" and that they were "shocked" at how the children's behavior, both towards them and their friends had changed, but that they were willing to give them all the support they needed in order to succeed in life.
"I'm not going to let these kids not have a chance at life," he told the court. "They'll always be mine and I'll do the best I can."
He went on to tell the court that while he and his wife had broken hearts over the situation, they didn't hate Hodge. "Adam doesn't need our forgiveness," he stated "the only forgiveness he needs is from God."
His former mother-in-law, who has custody of four of his children, received letters from him while he was in jail. When asked if he seemed to like his twins, she told the court, "He definitely didn't like they. He called his own children demon children."
Hodge has expressed remorse for his treatment of the children and according to his attorney, intends to seek help for anger management. Hodge had been seven prior convictions for violence against family members.
Hodge took the stand during the sentencing hearing in an effort to explain himself saying, "I want the court to understand I was dealing with parental issues that were very severe. I just made them worse."
When asked in court if he would handle thing the same way he told the court, "absolutely not. What I chose to do wasn't right. It wasn't right for the children."
Hodge has been barred from contact with the twins and any child under the age of 18.