Crime, Fire + Courts

Woodland woman accused of fatally shooting husband

By From page A1 | August 05, 2014

WOODLAND — The victim of Sunday night’s alleged homicide in Woodland — that city’s third so far this year — was a longtime Yolo County Probation Department employee remembered for his loyalty and work ethic.

Bryan Morris Hoskins, 60, died of a single gunshot wound to his chest that Woodland police say was inflicted by his wife, Susan Kathleen Hoskins, in the Knollwood Drive condominium they sometimes shared.

“It’s hard to explain to ourselves how something like this could happen,” said Ray Simmons, Yolo County’s assistant chief probation officer, who worked with Bryan Hoskins for more than two decades and knew Susan Hoskins as well. “It’s actually quite shocking.”

Woodland police Lt. Anthony Cucchi said officers were summoned shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday to the 600 block of Knollwood Drive — a narrow street of gray stucco condos off West Southwood Drive, across from Whitehead Elementary School — after “a woman called 911 saying she had just shot her husband.”

Police arrived to find 59-year-old Susan Hoskins standing on the front porch of the residence, where Bryan Hoskins was pronounced dead inside. Cucchi described the wife as cooperative, and she was taken into custody for an interview at the Woodland police station.

From there, she was lodged at the Yolo County Jail on murder and domestic-violence charges. She declined an interview request Monday from The Davis Enterprise.

Hoskins’ arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Yolo Superior Court. In the meantime, she is being held without bail.

A motive for the shooting remains under investigation, but Cucchi said the incident did not appear to be accidental nor an act of self-defense.

All was quiet Monday afternoon at the Knollwood Drive complex, where neighbors said Susan Hoskins, a nurse at nearby Woodland Healthcare, occupied one of the units while her husband lived in an identical condo just across the cul-de-sac. Both had bright orange coroner’s seals on the front doors.

“We didn’t really talk other than to say ‘hi’ and ‘bye,’ ” said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified. “It’s horrible. It’s pretty quiet in here, and she’s a nice lady.”

Although the couple lived apart, they were at one another’s condos frequently, the neighbor added, noting that Bryan Hoskins’ motorcycle was parked outside his wife’s garage on the night he was shot.

News of Bryan Hoskins’ violent death stunned his former colleagues at the Probation Department, where Hoskins had worked for 23 years, starting as an extra-help employee before retiring in 2012 as an assistant Juvenile Hall superintendent overseeing the alternative sentencing and transportation programs.

As a supervising detention officer in 2006, Hoskins received a distinguished service award from the Chief Probation Officers of California for his exemplary performance with the agency’s community service program, which then-Chief Probation Officer Don Meyer described as “an icon in the area of work programs.”

“He was very loyal to the department — very hard-working, and set high standards for himself,” said Simmons, the assistant chief probation officer. Although Hoskins rose in rank over the years, “nothing was ever beneath him. He was just a very good person and wanted to help where he could.”

That included on holidays, when Hoskins often would barbecue and deep-fry turkeys for both co-workers and the Juvenile Hall youths, sometimes starting as early as 3 a.m.

“That kind of stuff made him feel good,” Simmons said. He also recalled that Bryan and Susan Hoskins met at Juvenile Hall, where Susan would administer medications to the youths as part of her nursing duties.

But if anything was amiss in their relationship, Bryan Hoskins kept it to himself, Simmons added.

“He was a private guy. He kept things in a positive light,” he said.

The case marks Woodland’s third homicide of the year. Scott Michael Zumbrum, 33, was fatally stabbed on March 18 during an altercation on Elm Street. His alleged killer, Julio Gayton, is still awaiting trial.

Less than two months later, 41-year-old Margarita Lopez was shot to death April 27 in her Riverside Drive home by her boyfriend, Jose Pedro Hernandez, who then turned the gun on himself.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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