LAKE COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The homeless man accused of badly injuring four others in a violent hand saw attack in Painesville Township claims he acted in self-defense.
Brandon Hodgson is on trial for attempted murder.
On Tuesday, day two of the trial, the jury saw an interview recorded the night of the incident.
In the August interview with a Lake County Sheriff’s Office detective, Hodgson said he picked up the saw and attacked only after another man went after him with a burning piece of wood.
“I feared for my life,” Hodgson said, before admitting “I might have went a little overboard.”
The chaos unfolded inside a wooded area near N. Ridge Road between Bacon and Fairport Nursery Roads in Painesville Township.
Deputies started investigating when people driving by called 911 after noticing one of the blood-soaked victims yelling for help.
Hodgson and the victims all lived in tents in the same makeshift camp.
The victims testified on Tuesday that tension had been growing over a phone that Hodgson said had been stolen from the camp.
“He was upset about it,” said the lone female victim, who we’ve chosen not to identify. “I heard him say he was demising [sic] our murders.”
This was the first public hint of a motive.
In his initial interview, Hodgson told the detective he was fearful of the others due to the rising tension.
One of Hodgson’s co-workers at a nearby fast food restaurant testified that prior to the attack, three of the men entered the restaurant and threatened Hodgson.
Hodgson filed a police report with similar claims.
The lead detective testified that there was no clear evidence that any of the victims attempted to harm Hodgson first.
The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday. The defense has since called a handful of witnesses.
Hodgson could take the stand, if he chooses to testify, on Wednesday before the case is handed to the jury for deliberations.