Shawn Hoskins stood in a Lucas County Common Pleas courtroom fighting the emotion that comes with losing a child and asked only one question — why?
“I just want to know why he did it,” Mr. Hoskins said of the May 23 strangulation death of his 21-year-old daughter by Thomas Ellison. “I want him to tell me why he did it. No excuses. I want the truth.”
Ellison, 24, of Toledo pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated murder for the death of Jazmon Hoskins, with whom he formerly had a relationship. Immediately after admitting that he killed the mother of his now-2-year-old daughter, Ellison was ordered to serve a term of life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years.
Ellison was convicted of the death of Ms. Hoskins, who was found inside her Old West End apartment. He was arrested in Cincinnati, where he had fled, after calling police to admit he had killed her, authorities said.
In court, Ellison shed tears and hung his head as he listened to Judge Dean Mandros review portions of a recorded interview Ellison had previously had with detectives. The judge quoted Ellison as saying that he “lost it” after seeing some of Ms. Hoskins’ text messages and so grabbed her, fell to the floor, and began choking her.
“Is that what you did, Mr. Ellison?” the judge asked.
“Yes,” he answered.
“And you choked her until she was dead. Is that accurate?”
Ellison was charged with aggravated murder, which is punishable by life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years, 25 years, or 30 years, as well as life without parole. As part of a negotiated plea, Ellison pleaded guilty to the indictment in exchange for a prosecutor recommendation that he be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Assistant Prosecutor Michael Bahner said that although Ellison would be eligible after 20 years, the office was not recommending that the parole board release him. The judge noted that often offenders are not released when first eligible.
Ellison tearfully apologized to his family, Ms. Hoskins’ family, and to his 2-year-old daughter. His attorney, David Klucas, noted that Ellison did not have a violent past, that he was honest with police about his actions, and that he decided to enter a plea to save both his and Ms. Hoskins’ families from enduring a trial.
Judge Mandros questioned how a “veil of evil” enveloped Ellison that night that brought him “to literally squeeze the life out of this woman.”
“… If you ever do get out and you have contact with your daughter, you have a long time to figure out how you’re going to explain yourself,” he said. “She’s just one more victim in this horrific series of circumstances.”
Ms. Hoskins’ mother, Monica Hoskins, told Judge Mandros that no sentence would ever change the loss felt by her daughter’s death.
“There is no justice here today because we will forever serve a life sentence,” she said.
Erica Blake - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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