A man with a history of assault has been convicted of fatally beating his girlfriend, popular Woodinville High School teacher Prudence Hockley, on Christmas Eve 2011.
Johnnie Lee Wiggins, 49, faces a standard sentence of 20 to 30 years when he is sentenced July 19 by King County Superior Court Judge Laura Middaugh. However, the jury that convicted him Monday also returned special verdicts on two aggravating circumstances that are expected to increase the time he spends in prison, according to prosecutors.
The jury determined the crime was committed in the presence of Hockley’s then-13-year-old daughter and that Hockley’s death was part of a pattern of domestic violence committed by Wiggins against women, court records show.
Wiggins, a bodybuilder who previously was found in possession of anabolic steroids, apparently was jealous of a man who was at Hockley’s Seattle home that Christmas Eve, according to court records.
Most Read Local Stories
- Why some health care workers in Washington state were reluctant to get COVID shots
- Washington ranked as the 7th best state — but only among Democrats. For Republicans, we're 45th.
- Coronavirus daily news updates, April 19: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- Seattle area hits 80 degrees for the first time this year, but spring weather on the way back
- Zoom bombings that target marginalized people spark demands for legal protections in Washington state
Hockley, 55, stepped outside her home in the 300 block of Northwest 74th Street on Christmas Eve to speak with Wiggins, and he struck Hockley with such force that she suffered multiple skull fractures. He told police he was jealous when he saw another man’s car at the house, charging documents say.
Hockley’s 13-year-old daughter found her unconscious on the ground, charging documents say. Hockley was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where she died the next day.
She began dating Wiggins in February 2011 after they met at the gym where he was a personal trainer. At the time, Wiggins was an ex-convict on probation for an assault conviction in Georgia.
He was under the supervision of the Washington State Department of Corrections from 2008 through May 2011, when he violated his parole by possessing illegal, anabolic steroids and becoming violent with his community-corrections officer, a DOC spokesman said at the time.
Washington then asked Georgia to take him back, and Wiggins voluntarily reported to a probation officer in Georgia that August. Though required to notify a probation officer when he left the state or changed addresses, Wiggins did not do so and, at some point, returned to Washington state.
Besides her 13-year-old daughter, Hockley is survived by two adult children. A New Zealand native, she taught English at Woodinville High School.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or email@example.com