AUGUSTA – A woman who fired a handgun into the floor near her husband while the two argued about alcohol at their Oakland home was found guilty Tuesday of charges that included reckless conduct and endangering the welfare of a child.

The judge in the two-day trial of Heather M. Hodgson, William Stokes, said he’s seen circumstances similar to those involved in the incident that ended with her firing her Glock pistol in close proximity toward her husband. That resulted in a 9 mm bullet shooting into the floor of the Oakland home she and her husband, and their two children, shared at the time on Feb. 3, 2023.

Stokes said tragic results have ruined lives in more serious court cases in which he has presided.

“It didn’t happen, and thank God it didn’t happen,” Stokes said of anyone being injured or killed by such a shot. “I’ve seen too many cases where alcohol, guns and relationships all get thrown into the pot and in a millisecond your life is never the same. One person is dead or seriously injured and the other person is facing what Heather is facing here today.”

Stokes, an active retired superior court justice who decided the case after Hodgson waived her right to a jury trial, said he didn’t believe Hodgson’s testimony that she was in fear for her life. Her husband reportedly swore at her, called her names, and pushed his way back into their home, where she confronted him holding her gun and later fired a shot when he was picking up his cellphone so he could leave the residence. Testimony indicated she kept the loaded handgun in her purse and had taken numerous firearms courses.

“Her testimony, that she feared for her life, frankly I didn’t find that testimony believable,” Stokes said Tuesday morning from the bench at Capital Judicial Center. “She was not in fear for her life, it had more to do with her being incredibly upset with him. I don’t think she intended to hurt him. But I do find she wanted to scare him. So I don’t accept the self defense. I don’t accept that she actually held that belief. I found the testimony about that contrived.”


Stokes said testimony indicated Hodgson’s husband had called her horrible names and threw his wedding ring at her. He said that may have justified her anger at him, but didn’t justify her pointing a gun at him, or firing it into the floor in his proximity.

The couple’s two young children were home at the time of the incident, upstairs from where the shooting took place. Stokes said shooting the gun in the house, while the children were home, violated Hodgson’s duty to keep her children safe.

Hodgson, who had dabbed at her eyes with a tissue at times as Stokes delivered his verdict, sobbed as he admonished her for putting her children in harm’s way, by shooting a gun in the house, after she had been drinking Fireball liquor.

She was found guilty of domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, and endangering the welfare of a child. The most serious charges against Hodgson are Class C offenses, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Sentencing of Hodgson will likely take place the last week of July.

In addition to the three charges she was found guilty of, Hodgson was also originally charged with the more serious charge of attempted elevated aggravated assault, as well as attempted aggravated assault and an additional count of domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

However, before the trial began Monday state prosecutors dropped the Class B charge of attempted elevated aggravated assault, which would have come with a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Midway through the trial on a motion from Darrick X. Banda, Hodgson’s lawyer, Stokes ruled there was not enough evidence to continue with the charges of attempted aggravated assault and the second count of domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, dropping those from the trial.

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