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Eddie Dodge sentenced to life in prison with no parole for murder of Hunter Sims

Bill Choy

Eddie Samuel Dodge Jr., 41 of Anderson, will spend the rest of his life in prison for murder.

On Thursday, Aug. 20, Dodge was sentenced for the  Feb. 5, 2019 execution-style murder of Hunter James Sims, 31, and leaving the Texas man’s body off the side of North Old Stage Road in the Eddy Creek area near Weed.

Eddie Dodge

Judge William Davis pronounced the sentence as six years in state prison followed by an indeterminate term of life without parole, followed by 25 years to life.  

Dodge will serve the six-year sentence before he begins to serve his life sentences.  

Although one option was to pursue the death penalty, Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus elected against it. He previously said life without parole was an appropriate punishment, “considering the gruesome nature of the crime.”

Hunter Sims was 31 when he was murdered on Feb. 4, 2019 in Siskiyou County, in the Eddy Creek area near Weed.

Technically, Dodge was sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole for First Degree murder with the special circumstances that the killing was intentional and accomplished for financial gain, as well as a consecutive term of 25 years to life for personal use of a firearm in commission of the crime, inflicting great bodily harm or death. 

Dodge was also convicted of robbery. For that crime he was sentenced to a maximum of five years in state prison, which was doubled to 10 years because of a prior strike offense for another robbery in 1999, Andrus explained.

An enhancement of 25 to life for use of a firearm was added to that charge as well.  

The entire sentence for the robbery was imposed but stayed by the court because the acts were indistinguishable from the murder. 

In a third count, Dodge was convicted of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. For that crime, he was sentenced to the maximum of three years in state prison, which was doubled to six years because of the prior strike. He’ll serve this term first.

“The sentence imposed today represents the wages of the defendant’s terrible crime,” Andrus said. “He took a promising and positive life, devastated a mother, sister, and friends, and left a young daughter without a father. What the defendant has to give – his freedom for the remainder of his lifetime – is a pittance when balanced against what he has taken.”

Dodge’s attorney, Michael Borges of Redding, asked Judge Davis to strike the 25 to life enhancement on the first degree murder charge, calling it “excessive,” Andrus said. He also asked the court to run the sentence for robbery concurrent, rather than consecutive, to the life sentences. 

Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus

Judge Davis declined the requests, Andrus said.

Sims’ family watched the sentencing hearing remotely from Texas. His mother, Robin Sims, and sister, Nicole Soare, gave impact statements during a sentencing hearing Aug. 4, but did not participate in Thursday's hearing other than to watch and listen. 

The sentencing was delayed because a pre-sentencing report from the Probation Department was incorrect in its sentence calculation, Andrus said.

While he corrected it in court on Aug. 4, Judge Davis decided it was too complicated for him to adopt without looking at the details further. Davis said that he wanted to make sure he got things exactly right in a case like this.

After the decision was made Thursday, Sims’ mother Robin expressed appreciation for the efforts required to bring such a complicated case to verdict. 

“Hunter’s family was satisfied and happy with the result but it was also very somber,” said Andrus. “As much as his family and our law enforcement team have become close, we are reminded that this positive relationship came about because of the loss of Hunter. I hope this verdict and sentence, the lawful and correct result, can give them a measure of peace.”

A jury convicted Dodge on Jan. 16 in Sims’ murder.

The motivation for the murder, Andrus said, was money. Dodge stole $200,000 which Sims had planned to use to purchase a large amount of marijuana.