Guilty verdict in Nelson woman's murder

Last updated 09:08 20/06/2013
JUSTICE: The man charged with murdering former Nelson woman Prudence Hockley has been found guilty of the crime.

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The man charged with killing a former Nelson school teacher has been found guilty of her murder.

Prudence Hockley, 55, died in hospital on Christmas Day in 2011 after she was allegedly attacked by her boyfriend outside her home in Seattle, Washington.

Professional bodybuilder Johnnie Lee Wiggins, 49, was found guilty of second-degree murder by a King County Superior Court jury on Monday (US time), the Seattle Times reported.

Wiggins now faces a up to 30 years imprisonment when he is sentenced on July 19, but special verdicts on two aggravating circumstances are expected to increase the time he spends in prison, prosecutors said.

The jury found Wiggins had attacked Hockley in the presence of her then-13-year-old daughter, and her death was part of a pattern of domestic violence Wiggins committed against women, court records showed.

Hockley, a mother of three, was originally from Nelson and studied at Canterbury University.

She moved to the US in 1978 and joined the teaching staff at Woodinville High School in Seattle in 1997.

Former pupil Anna Berlin, who set up a memorial page for Hockley on Facebook, said the teacher had a beauty that ''shined through her in every way possible''.

''[I] was very inspired by her vivacious way of living, her unique ability to see only the good and beauty in things, and, of course, her style.''

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- The Press

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