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Hoskins v. Attorney General of State of Mississippi

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

June 13, 2017




         Petitioner Trevor Hoskins, an inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, has filed a pro se habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the conviction and sentence for domestic aggravated assault that he received in the Circuit Court of Washington County, Mississippi. Having considered the submission of the parties, the State court record, and the law applicable to Hoskins' claims, the Court finds that the petition should be denied, for the reasons that follow.


         Background Facts and Procedural History

         Around 6:50 a.m. on July 4, 2012, Armilla Lucius (“Lucius”) called the 911 dispatch in Greenville, Mississippi, and reported to responding officers that she had been beaten by Trevor Hoskins, who was asleep in the bedroom at the time she made the 911 call. See Doc. #14-3 at 88-89-91; 110-113. Officers testified that when they arrived at Lucius' residence, Lucius had to crawl to open the locked door for officers, and it was reported that she was covered in so much blood and had sustained so many bruises that she appeared to have suffered “a beating in astronomical proportions.” Id. at 92-95; 110-13. The crime scene was described as “horrific, ” and officers found broken glass in the living room and blood in almost every room of the house. Id. at 100; 106-08; 111-13; see also Doc. #14-4 at 10-13. Guided by Lucius' statements regarding the location of her assailant, officers entered a bedroom and found a male, dressed in a t-shirt and boxers, asleep in the bed. Doc. #14-3 at 96-97; 107. The male, subsequently identified as Hoskins, was arrested, and Lucius was taken to the hospital. Id. at 94; 97-98; 107.

         According to Lucius' medical records, she suffered a broken arm, a broken leg, fractures in her nasal cavity, and bruising throughout her entire body as a result of the attack. Doc. #14-4 at 22. Dr. William Barber, the trauma surgeon who treated Lucius at the hospital, testified that she had a scalp laceration, a broken right arm, a broken left lower leg, and a broken nose. Id. at 34-35. These injuries would have been caused by multiple blows, Dr. Barber stated, and Lucius reported her pain level as a 10 out of 10 when she arrived at the hospital. Id. at 35. Dr. Barber testified that Lucius required surgery for both her arm and her leg fractures. Id. at 36. Testimony was also offered that Lucius' arm never healed properly, and that she has a permanent limp after the attack. Id. at 56-58.

         Lucius reported that she had been dating Hoskins for approximately two months as of July 4, 2012. Doc. #14-3 at 101; Doc. #14-4 at 40. She testified that the evening of July 3, 2012, she had gone to sleep alone in her home and was later awakened by Hoskins hitting her on the head with a beer bottle. Id. at 43. Hoskins struck her with a baseball bat as she attempted to flee, and he pursued her through several rooms striking her with the bat. Id. at 43-48. Lucius lost consciousness, but when she came to, she dragged herself to a phone and placed a call to 911 while Lucius was lying in bed. Id. at 50-51.

         Cuttings were taken from the t-shirt Hoskins was wearing at the time of his arrest, and DNA swabs were taken from Lucius. See Doc. # 14-3 at 115-117; Doc. #14-4 at 4-5, 13. The baseball bat used in the attack, which was found lying on an ironing board in the bedroom, was taken into evidence and swabbed. Doc. #14-3 at 101, 117; Doc. #14-4 at 4-5. Forensic testimony established that Lucius could not be excluded as the donor of DNA that was recovered from the cuttings of Hoskins' t-shirt and the bat. Doc. #14-3 at 115-117. In fact, the genetic profile generated from the sample was determined to occur with a “frequency of approximately 1 and greater than 10 billion random unrelated people[.]” Id. at 120. In other words, the genetic profile generated from the evidence matched the victim. Id.

         Linda Taylor (“Taylor”), a prior romantic partner of Hoskins' who was also one of his prior victims, was allowed to testify to Hoskins' prior assault of her “for purposes of intent and knowledge, lack of accident or mistake.” Doc. #14-4 at 89; see also Doc. #14-3 at 66-68 and 74-75. Taylor dated Hoskins for approximately three months prior to his relationship with Lucius. Doc. #14-4 at 79-81. She testified that Hoskins tried to kill her in February 2012 after they argued concerning his allegations that she was seeing other men. Id. at 81-84. Taylor stated that Hoskins, who had been driving a vehicle in which she was riding at the time the argument began, parked the car, opened the passenger side door, and physically pulled Taylor from the vehicle while beating her with his fists and kicking her with steel-toed boots. Id. at 83-86. During this attack, he choked her, attempted to gouge out her eyes, and cut her neck with a knife. Id. at 86-87. He bit her face and back, and he actually bit off a part of her ear. Id. Taylor had to have operations on her jaw and ear and suffers hearing problems as a result of the attack. Id. at 91.

         Hoskins did not testify, and the defense presented no witnesses. After an hour and five minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict. Doc. #14-4 at 134. Hoskins was sentenced to a twenty-year prison term in this case to run consecutively with the previous twenty-year sentence he received for his attack on Taylor. Id. at 138-39.

         Hoskins' conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. Hoskins v. State, 186 So.3d 898 (Miss. Ct. App. 2015), reh'g denied December 8, 2015, cert. denied March 10, 2016 (Cause No. 2013-KA-01785-COA). Hoskins did not seek post-conviction relief in State court.


         Legal Standard

         The Court's review of Hoskins' claims is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), because his federal habeas petition was filed after the statute's effective date. See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320 (1997). The AEDPA prevents the grant of federal habeas relief on any claim adjudicated on the merits in state court unless that adjudication (1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established United States Supreme Court precedent; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an ...

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