For a man about to enter a guilty plea and get sentenced to another 11 years in prison, Bobby Hoskins Jr. appeared to be in high spirits Thursday in Boyle Circuit Court.
An animated Hoskins, who pleaded guilty to first-degree rioting for his role in the riot at Northpoint Training Center and promoting contraband for sneaking a handcuff key into the Boyle County Detention Center, drew smiles from fellow prisoners in the courtroom, correctional officers, his attorney and even prosecutor Richie Bottoms and Judge Darren Peckler.
“Mr. Hoskins has been very involved in this case. He’s been a great client,” public defender Rebecca Lytle told Peckler.
Hoskins, 43, was one of five inmates charged with arson for allegedly setting fires during the 2009 riot. The first-degree arson charge was dismissed Thursday, however, in a deal with Bottoms, which calls for Hoskins to get 10 years on the rioting charge and being a persistent felony offender. Final sentencing is Oct. 2.
“We were more concerned with the term of the sentence than the specific charges,” Bottoms said.
Lytle said there was “very little” evidence that Hoskins participated in starting any fires at the prison and that his role in the riot was limited to “chanting and yelling at people.”
“Everybody was really excited and acting the fool,” she said.
Bottoms, however, said Hoskins was more active in the riot than simply being boisterous, though he declined to spell out Hoskins’ role until after he was finally sentenced.
Hoskins also entered an Alford guilty plea to promoting contraband, not admitting guilt in the case but acknowledging that there was enough evidence against him for a conviction. An officer at the Boyle County jail found a handcuff key inside a bottle of lotion in Hoskins’ bunk-side drawer. A year in prison was the recommended sentence on that charge.
Before the riot, Hoskins, who was serving a 10-year sentence at Northpoint for convictions of assault and drug trafficking in Pulaski County, was scheduled to serve out his prison time on Nov. 1. He initially was scheduled to be the first inmate tried for charges relating to the riot, but legal maneuvering, including changing attorneys, caused Hoskins’ trial to be delayed multiple times.
Last year, Newell Stacy went to trial and was sentenced to 20 years after a jury convicted him of rioting and being a persistent felony offender but could not reach a verdict on the arson charge. Last month, Aaron Lee Fisk pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of third-degree arson and rioting in exchange for a seven-year prison sentence.
Work to rebuild Northpoint recently was completed at a cost of $18.8 million.