Why Was Suspect in Hockley Murder Free?

The man charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of Prudence Hockley has a history of violent crime and was in violation of the terms of his Georgia probation at the time of the killing.


Johnnie Lee Wiggins, the man accused of , was not supposed to be in Washington state on Christmas Eve.

Court documents and statements from law enforcement agencies help to illuminate the chain of events that led to Wiggins’ presence outside Hockley’s home at the time of the crime. They also tell the story of a man with "an extensive criminal history that includes a number of convictions for assaults--including assaults against women," according to the charges filed on Dec. 29.

Wiggins was released from prison in Georgia in January 2008. He had been convicted of aggravated assault and was imprisoned after violating the terms of his probation, according to court documents. Upon his 2008 release, he requested and was allowed to complete his probation in Washington state.

In May of this year, Wiggins (a semi-pro body builder) was arrested in Washington after reportedly assaulting his probation officer. At the time, according to court documents, a “large quantity” of illegal steroids was found in his home. He was arrested, and later released and ordered to return to Georgia and report to a probation officer there.

In August, Wiggins “voluntarily reported to a Probation Office in the Cobb Judicial Circuit [in Georgia] after being supervised in Washington for approximately 3 years,” according to a statement from the Georgia Department of Corrections. But sometime later, he returned to Washington.

“As an unsupervised probationer, Wiggins is required to notify his probation officer when he leaves the state or changes his address,” according to the statement. “Wiggins failed to inform his probation officer of his move to Washington, thus did not comply with the terms of his probation. Due to his failure to comply, the Department has obtained a warrant for Wiggins and is taking the proper steps to extradite Wiggins back to the state.”

The Georgia statement continues: “Wiggins will remain in Washington until the murder charges are adjudicated. The Probation violation in Georgia is secondary to the murder charges in Washington. The Department has a warrant in place on Wiggins pending the legal outcome of his case in Washington.”

KOMO News obtained what it says is an Aug. 30 memorandum from the Georgia State Department of Pardons and Paroles to the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision. The memorandum discusses whether Wiggins should have been arrested in Georgia for a “significant violation” of his probation agreement based on the May arrest in Seattle. The memorandum defends Georgia’s handling of the case but concedes that “both states could have handled this case differently,” citing the fact that no charges were filed in Washington and “some confusion” over a change in rules governing these types of interstate transfers.

According to court documents, Wiggins has one conviction in Washington state in 1999, for possession of stolen property in the second degree. He has a series of other convictions dating back to 1987 in North Carolina and Georgia, primarily for assault.

Mike December 31, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Once a low life, always a low life!
Ralph McGraw December 31, 2011 at 02:33 AM
Another case of our judicial system failures.
Franco December 31, 2011 at 04:16 AM
The system really sucks. Probation and parole at one time stood for something but not any longer. This thug assaults a probation officer aka a law enforcement officer and walks. What is wrong with our system? Would this guy have walked if he assaulted a state police officer? I don't think so. Then, on top of that he is found to be in possession of illegal drugs. The jerk should have been in jail. Every state better wake up and realize that someone has to be held accountable when I guy like this is released and commits a serious crime against another person. Really!
kenhp1 December 31, 2011 at 05:06 AM
I hope the victims Family can sue the hell out of the state(s) for not having this scum off the street. Due to their lack of competence this Lady lost her life for no reason. Too bad someone had to loose their life to get him in prison where he belongs. Hope he gets life without parole. Keep him in a hole until he dies. No one wins in these cases. Especially the victim. They should put these people in solitary confinement for the rest of their life. They have proven they are not fit for society. So why do we give them TV and other amenities that many of our seniors cannot afford. If not solitary confinement make them work from sun up to sun down six says a week. If they refuse to work put them in solitary confinement. They can at least help pay to keep themselves up while in the joint. We have the greatest prison population in the WORLD. We must be doing something wrong. Studies need to be done to determine what works to deter crime in the short and long term. Then implement them. If it means public electrocution, do it. If it means making them work everyday, do it. If it means putting them in a hole, do it. Obviously the system was not effective for this guy. He kept going back to jail and prison. I guess we need to make it so bad they never want to return. The lowest risk individuals need to be released with a short leash. Halfway houses with strict rules of behavior. Whatever is needed, do it.
Michael Carlyon December 31, 2011 at 07:14 AM
A urine test would have revealed he was on steroids. What happened?
john December 31, 2011 at 08:49 AM
This guy was a personal trainer at golds gym in Kirkland WA.My wife used him as a trainer there.Golds gym fired him then rehired him with out any back ground check.It,s scary to think these places are more worried about the bottom dallor then the customers.A friend of mine knew the teacher and told my wife about it.I do not blame golds gym BUT THE COMPANY THAT PAYS THESE PEOPLE WHICH IS ABC FINANCE.If you do not beleive me look it up.
Jes December 31, 2011 at 12:12 PM
I seldom respond to articles I read, however, this one made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It's all too familiar. Like this teacher, my sister, who was also a teacher, was murdered in her home in 2009. The scumbag that brutally stabbed her to death was a violent habitual criminal that should have never been out of prison. Two years after her death, we finally went to court. He received the maximum sentence for murder...65 years and the maximum sentence for being a habitual offender...30 years. 95 years. It's too late for my sister, too late for my family, but I do find some peace knowing the scum won't be able to hurt another innocent person. I just hope this woman's daughter and family have a huge support system. They are just beginning the most difficult journey of their lives. My heart goes out to them.
Mike Jones December 31, 2011 at 12:22 PM
heffy December 31, 2011 at 04:43 PM
He seems like a nice guy,


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