05/18/2024

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Timothy Chase McDonald, right, was convicted in the murder of Spencer Richard Hodgson, left. (Photos from the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office)

Man convicted of ambush shooting of stranger after discovering flirtatious texts on his girlfriend’s phone: Sheriff

Timothy Chase McDonald, right, was convicted in the murder of Spencer Richard Hodgson, left. (Photos from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office)

A California man was convicted of luring a stranger to a remote area, shooting him and dumping his body after finding flirtatious texts on his girlfriend’s phone.

Timothy Chase McDonald, 26, of Yreka, was found guilty of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Spencer Richard Hodgson, 31, deputies said in a news release.

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    Hodgson’s body was found on April 8, 2019, in a ravine in a rural community in the Klamath River area. A Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office deputy made the discovery that morning while responding to a report of a possible dead body, authorities said. An autopsy found that he had been shot and the manner of death was determined to be homicide, officials said.

    A California Highway Patrol aircraft searching overhead found Hodgson’s white 2010 Toyota Tundra pickup truck and his dog was found alive and well and given to family members, authorities said.

    Authorities said they recovered evidence from the truck and interviewed the victim’s associates and his family. They also offered a reward for information leading to the killer.

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    Months passed and McDonald was eventually arrested in January 2020 for the murder.

    Authorities said he told an acquaintance he ambushed Hodgson after finding flirtatious texts on his girlfriend’s phone. The victim did not know McDonald, officials said.

    “He was arrested in the city of Yreka,” Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said at the time, the Redding Record Searchlight reported. “What happened was we tracked him down where he lived and he was subjected to questioning and we developed a probable cause to make an arrest.”

    In a statement after the verdict, the sheriff’s office credited witnesses for offering critical information that helped solve the case.

    “Lastly, we offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Spencer Hodgson and to all those affected by this senseless and tragic crime,” the statement said. “While we cannot erase the pain inflicted from his loss, we hope the findings of this jury can provide some semblance of closure for all those who cared for him.”

     

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