Hockman Murder Trial Begins

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

Prosecutors are calling witnesses in the murder trial of 35-year-old Donna Jean Hockman.

Seven men and seven woman will hear the case against Hockman, who is accused of killing her boy friend, 23-year-old Dustin Ray Stout Stanley, in July 2008.

Hockman entered two not guilty pleas Monday morning to a charge of first degree murder and a charge of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Judge James Lane made a ruling on the use of Hockman's Myspace page during a hearing before jury selection, specifically her user name, Man Hater, on Myspace, the social networking site.

Lane ruled Prosecutor Marsha Garst won't be able to enter the user name as evidence. However, Garst says she does plan to use excerpts from the site.

She says Hockman has entries on there about men who cheated and her feelings toward them, stemming from alleged cheating by Stanley, the victim.

Pastor Ken Gullman says he's been talking a lot with Hockman. He says she was looking for spiritual advice after being arrested and charged with killing Stanley.

"It's amazing. She has been praying for the mother of the guy she killed," says Gullman, adding Hockman has never denied killing Stanley.

In court Monday, Garst described Hockman as an obsessive girlfriend who was angry that Stanley may have been cheating on her.

During opening statements, Garst quoted Hockman saying, "'I wanted hollow point [bullets] because they do the most damage.' And ladies and gentlemen of the jury, they did. Domestic violence goes both ways and the ultimate victim is Dustin Stanley."

Hockman's lead defense attorney Bruce Albertson says, "There is no question Donna Hockman shot this man. There's no disputing this. This case is not going to be about battered women syndrome but it is a case about domestic violence. There's a broader story here than just jealousy."

The victim's mother, Vickie Stanley, gave a tearful testimony. She told the jury Hockman was watching every move her son was making. Hockman herself broke down crying during the trial.

Hockman's 18-year-old son testified late in the afternoon about helping his mother clean up after the shooting.

"We're not saying you ought to be free or you ought to be in jail, just trust God. Don't be anxious," says Gullman.

The trial is expected to last all week. In the event of severe winter weather, the trial will simply be delayed until the roads are safe to travel on again.


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