Woman's death followed years of abuse

Husband admits he stabbed wife

Staff WriterAugust 24, 2007 

— Last year, John Wesley Hodge told his wife that he was going to kill her. The year before, he stabbed her three times in the back.

Police say he stabbed her again about 1 a.m. Thursday. This time she died.

The body of Kimberly Arnetta Davis, 35, was found on her living room floor at 421 Price Ave. after an argument with her husband.

Hodge, 41, was arrested at the home and charged with murder. He admitted to emergency dispatchers that he had stabbed Davis, said Kammie Michael, Durham police spokeswoman. Hodge is being held without bail at the Durham County jail.

Davis' death Thursday ended a relationship in which sharp words were common, arguments occurred daily and violence was a fact of life.

"They were like oil and water," said Beatrice King, Davis' aunt. "They did not belong together, and I told her that on numerous occasions."

Davis stayed with Hodge after he was convicted of assaulting her in 2001. He was accused of stabbing Davis in 2005, but the charge was dismissed after police and court officials couldn't find her. She then filed a court order to keep Hodge away from her, but she was a no-show in court. Hodge was convicted of communicating threats in March after saying he would kill her.

His rap sheet, six pages long, includes convictions for other assaults and robbery. Hodge was charged in June with stabbing one man and breaking the collarbone of another after arguing with Davis.

Domestic violence victims often stay with their abusers -- and out of court -- because of fear, said Rita Anita Linger, executive director of the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"This is a result of the mental battering that occurs," she said. "By the time the physical abuse occurs, they are emotionally abused and emotionally controlled."

The killing Thursday was Durham's first domestic killing this year and the 14th overall. There have been 35 domestic killings statewide this year as of Aug. 18, according to the coalition. There were 79 last year and 71 in 2005.

Durham police domestic violence investigators had worked with the couple, but things got worse. Last week, officers responded to three disturbance calls at the Price Avenue home, off Fayetteville Street just north of N.C. Central University. That same block was surrounded with yellow police tape all day Thursday.

Relatives who gathered at King's home wondered why Davis, a sweet person who always smiled and loved King's mac and cheese, never heeded their advice to stay away from Hodge.

She had been attending domestic violence classes, which helped her self-esteem, and had planned to tell Hodge to stay away from her, King said.

"When we get enough strength to go though the court system and tell them to get out of our life, that man can still get into our home and kill her," said Valeria King, another aunt of Davis. "If he can't have you, no one can."

Davis, who had no children with Hodge, left behind four children, ages 15, 14, 12 and 9. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Staff writer Stanley B. Chambers Jr. can be reached at 956-2426 or stan.chambers@newsobserver.com.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service