Brother charged with murder of Cheviot man

Kenneth Hodge and John Hancock, Jr.
Posted at 7:06 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 12:17:34-04

CHEVIOT, OH — Kurtis Hodge was charged on Wednesday with murdering his brother Kenneth in his Cheviot apartment.

According to an affidavit filed in Hamilton County Municipal Court, the shooting occurred at Kurtis' apartment. Kenneth was shot multiple times, including once in the back when he tried to escape.

Kurtis was seen on surveillance video exiting the apartment building on Ruth Lane and on the phone with a 911 operator while grabbing a pizza he had delivered. He then walked away from the area toward Harrison Avenue. Cheviot Police and Fire were then dispatched to the apartment, where they found Kenneth laying on the floor motionless. He was transported to the hospital but died of his injuries.

Family members who were on scene told law enforcement that Kenneth was shot by Kurtis. Kurtis was located in the basement of his grandmother's apartment building on McHenry Avenue and arrested.

Kenneth's death marked the tragic end to a dramatic turnaround that inspired some of his victims to help him win an early release from prison.

Hodge received national attention in 2019 following his early release from prison and friendship with John Hancock Jr., one of his victims in a 2008 armed robbery.

Hancock said he learned about Hodge's death Tuesday.

"I was shocked," Hancock said.

Hancock was 13 when Hodge hit him in the face and pointed a gun at him while robbing Boy Scouts and their parents selling Christmas trees.

"It definitely was probably one of the key points of why I went through a lot of depression for a few years," Hancock said. "I felt powerless."

John Hancock Jr.
John Hancock Jr. | Photo by Michael Benedic

Years later, Hancock said he exchanged letters with Hodge, believing he was a changed man and should be released early from prison.

"I just had a gut feeling he was actually doing the hard work internally to change," Hancock said.

A judge granted Hodge early release in 2019. Court records show the motion for early release included letters Hodge and Hancock wrote to each other.

Hancock said after Hodge got out of prison, he got a new job, reconnected with family and became a friend.

"How often do you hear about getting a friendship going with someone who robbed you at gunpoint," Hancock said.

Hancock said that friendship emerged from him forgiving Hodge and Hodge forgiving himself.

"I saw someone who was hopeful," Hancock said.