Attorney General Russell Coleman

Kentucky Attorney General Coleman Urges Sixth Circuit to Respect Jury’s Verdict and Uphold Murderer’s Sentence

FRANKFORT, KY – Attorney General Russell Coleman announced he asked the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to reconsider a recent panel decision to throw out the death sentence for convicted murderer Benny Lee Hodge.

“In the nearly four decades since Benny Hodge committed one of Eastern Kentucky’s most notorious murders, he has exhausted our legal system in an attempt to escape justice. The federal appeals court's unfortunate opinion may allow him to do just that,” said General Coleman. “On behalf of the family and community of the victims in this case who must now relive this painful experience, our Office is urging the entire federal appeals court to reconsider this decision and respect the jury’s verdict. We will continue the fight to deliver justice for these victims and their family.”

In 1986, Benny Lee Hodge was convicted by a Kentucky jury for the murder of Tammy Acker, the attempted murder of her father, Dr. Roscoe Acker, first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary. Hodge and his codefendant, Roger Dale Epperson, posed as FBI agents to enter Dr. Acker’s home in Letcher County. Once inside, they tied up the victims, forced Dr. Acker to open his safe, strangled him until he lost consciousness and brutally stabbed Tammy at least 10 times with a large kitchen knife.

Since his conviction, Hodge has filed numerous appeals seeking to avoid punishment.

Dr. Acker and Tammy are survived by Tawny Acker, who supports General Coleman’s request for reconsideration. "For decades, I have closely watched the legal maneuverings of Mr. Benny Hodge, the man who was convicted of viciously murdering my sister and the attempted murder of my father. My family and the families of other Kentuckians will not be safe if he should ever be released," said Acker. “I’m thankful Attorney General Coleman and his team are continuing the fight for justice so that no other family ever has to go through this pain well after a jury reaches its verdict.”

Read the filing here.



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