Life in prison for assassination of man in front of his children


A Minneapolis man was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 32-year-old Divittin Hoskins in front of his children, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

On Aug. 16, a Hennepin County District Court jury convicted James Woodard, 33, of first-degree murder without the possibility of parole. The trial, including deliberations, lasted 14 days.

According to the criminal complaint, police were called to the parking area behind an apartment in the 1600 block of Plymouth Ave. N. on the evening of July 28, 2017. Hoskins had been shot once in the head.
Witnesses and surveillance video indicated that Woodard walked to a garage and hid next to it. A second man, Elbert Robinson, Jr, walked up to Woodard several times and spoke to him. Eventually, Hoskins drove into the parking lot and was walking toward the building with his children. Robinson appeared to signal Woodard, who then ran from his hiding spot, pulled a gun from his waist band and fired a single shot to the back of the victim’s head, in front of the children, and then ran away, the complaint states.

In court on Tuesday morning, Hoskins’ mother, Terry, gave an impact statement and a victim advocate for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office read comments from Hoskins’ 11-year-old daughter. Mr. Woodard did not address the court.

Judge Kathryn Quaintance stated that this case was one of the most gratuitous acts of violence she has seen in her more than 25 years in the criminal justice system. She described Mr. Woodard as heartless and cold-blooded. She went on to say that Hoskins’ children will have to live with this trauma for the rest of their lives and she commended them for their bravery.

Hoskins and Robinson were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,500. Robinson pleaded guilty to aiding an offender and will be sentenced on Nov. 26.