May 20, 2022

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The lumbering man stood exterior the White Citadel in Huntington, Lengthy Island ready for the taxi he had simply known as.

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Cabbie and father of 4 Jeffrey Hirsch had solely simply returned to Lengthy Island to look after his ailing mom.

On Aug. 11, 1987, his passenger was a person named Todd Hodne, a 28-year-old ex-con whose goals of soccer stardom had ended within the slammer. Now, on this broiling day on Lengthy Island, the 2 males met.

Hirsch drove the onetime grid star to a facet avenue close to the Walt Whitman Mall. Then, Hodne pulled a knife in a botched try and rob the cabbie. A scuffle ensued and the previous jock strangled his driver till he was mind lifeless.

The Penn State Rapist. Todd Hodne. PENN STATE
The Penn State Rapist. Todd Hodne. PENN STATE

Hodne was pinched a short while later. Hirsch the cabbie died six days later.

“I’ve been a prosecutor for practically 30 years,” wrote John B. Collins, who prosecuted considered one of Hodne’s crimes, in a letter to a parole board. “I’ve prosecuted serial killers and capital circumstances. Todd Hodne, to at the present time, stays among the many three most harmful, bodily imposing and ruthless excuses for a human being I’ve ever confronted in courtroom.”

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‘NO CONTROL OVER HIS DARK IMPULSES’

It wasn’t presupposed to be like that. Hodne grew up on Lengthy Island the place he starred in soccer as a linebacker at St. Dominic Excessive Faculty. He was massive and quick and hard.

Naturally, he was recruited by famed coach Joe Paterno to play for his Penn State College Nittany Lions. The freshman began in seven video games in 1977 culiminating in an look on the Fiesta Bowl.

However beneath his rugged exterior, lay demons. One member of the family later instructed ESPN that Hodne “had no management over his darkish impulses.”

Hodne’s promising freshman yr changed into a catastrophe in the course of the summer time of 1978 when he and two friends from Lengthy Island broke into and robbed a document retailer. He would later be nabbed on housebreaking expenses and suspended from the crew.

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Paterno conceded there might be a return to the crew “if he has educational yr and if he proves to us that [the robbery] was a mistake.”

Legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno was willing to give Hodne a second chance. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno was prepared to present Hodne a second probability. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

‘DRIVEN AND DETERMINED’

Hodne engaged in different nocturnal actions moreover housebreaking: Rape. By 1978, an unknown monster was prowling the UPenn campus in State School attacking younger ladies.

ESPN famous: “He was pushed and decided and slightly determined. He was additionally merciless, probably the most predatory of predators, a hunter who appreciated to linger. He attacked with a knife to the throat, and when he attacked ladies, he made certain they couldn’t see him, however he additionally appreciated to recommend they knew him.”

“Do you acknowledge my voice?” he requested one sufferer.

NEW YORK NEWSDAY
NEW YORK NEWSDAY

‘IT JUST WASN’T NORMAL’

Throughout Hodne’s reign of terror, he dedicated at the very least a dozen rapes and sexual assaults throughout 1978 and 1979 in State School and on his house turf in New York.

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His roommate, who requested to not be named, instructed ESPN that Hodne was excessive in all the pieces he did.

“Todd simply didn’t have the identical ethical compass that different folks did,” the person stated 45 years after the very fact. “He had some wild sexual appetites. We had bunk beds, and I’m on the underside, he’s on the highest. And he’d be up there going at it for hours at a time. It simply wasn’t regular. I imply, I knew one thing was undoubtedly completely different in that side.”

Finally, he was arrested however as an alternative of being remanded into custody, the decide gave him bail and let him return to Lengthy Island. There, he picked up the place he left off and was arrested once more in Might 1979 on 4 counts of first-degree rape, amongst different expenses.

DIRTY JERRY: Jerry Sandusky . GETTY IMAGES
DIRTY JERRY: Jerry Sandusky . GETTY IMAGES

Hodne pleaded responsible to 2 counts of rape and different sexual abuse and theft expenses. He was sentenced to a minimal of seven years and a most of 21 years.

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In 1986, Hodne got here up for parole. The Nassau County (NY) prosecutor who caged him was apocalyptic and wrote a letter detailing his burly crimes. The parole board, noticed issues otherwise and sprung him.

DIED IN 2020

It didn’t take Hodne lengthy to as soon as extra come off the rails. He repeatedly violated his parole and by the late Nineteen Eighties was hooked on crack cocaine. Hodne ditched his job and he ditched his remedy.

And on Aug. 11, 1987, he encountered cabbie Jeffrey Hirsch.

Hodne could be convicted and spend the remainder of his life in a New York State jail. He died of most cancers in 2020.

Hodne was largely forgotten till the Jerry Sandusky intercourse scandal blew up in State School in 2011. Then, his identify was as soon as extra on everybody’s lips.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun

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