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|“||Nothing happened! But he said he'd tell his mother that it did happen, and I can't have that... so I snapped his neck.||„|
|~ Lewis Hodda's confession.|
Lewis Hodda is a recurring antagonist in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He is a serial killer who kidnaps and sexually abuses four young boys over the span of 13 years, killing three of them.
Hodda was raised by his abusive, alcoholic father, who frequently beat him with a strap.
Hodda grew up to be a career criminal, specializing in arson for hire. Real estate developer Sam Morris hired him in the late 1990s as the manager of several of his properties, but his real job was to burn down buildings owned by Morris' rival developers so the property values in the adjoining neighborhoods would go down, allowing Morris to acquire them cheap.
Hodda was also involved in several sex crimes. He frequently loitered in parks filled with children in order to watch them, and he sexually abused at least three young boys.
In 1999, Hodda kidnapped seven-year-old Hector Rodriguez, took him to one of the buildings he had burned down on Morris' orders, and raped and strangled him. He then made a rush order for concrete, which he used to bury Hector's body. In 2001, he murdered another boy, Jorge Diaz, who had accused him of sexual assault; he strangled Jorge and dumped his body in a warehouse, which he then set on fire. He killed his third victim, Dante Borelli, in 2006, raping and strangling him and leaving his body in a sugar factory, which he then burned to the ground.
In "Manhattan Vigil"
By 2012, Hodda is having financial problems, so he goes to Morris' son David to ask for money, claiming the Morris family owes him for all the fires he set on the now-deceased Sam's orders. When David refuses, Hodda gets back at him by kidnapping his young son, Wyatt, and holding him captive in a warehouse. David and his ex-wife, Laurie Colfax, go to the NYPD's Special Victims Unit for help, and Detective Olivia Benson, who had worked on Hector's disappearance 13 years earlier, notices similarities between his kidnapping and Wyatt's.
Benson and her partner, Detective Nick Amaro, uncover the arson ordered by Sam Morris, and find Hector's body buried beneath the concrete of one of his buildings that had since burned down. They check into the building records and find that Hodda had ordered the concrete after the fire, and deduce that he killed Hector and likely kidnapped Wyatt.
They arrest Hodda for forging medical prescriptions, but they interrogate him about Hector and Wyatt. He denies having harmed either boy, and vehemently insists that he is not a pedophile. Benson tells him that prison will be brutal for a "chomo" like him, and that his only chance is to tell them where he has Wyatt. Hodda submits to a recorded confession to killing Hector and kidnapping Wyatt, but insists he only kidnapped the boys for money, and killed Hector because the boy had threatened to tell his parents that Hodda molested him. Fortunately, Wyatt is found alive and unharmed, and Hodda is charged with kidnapping and murder.
Hodda is held in police custody for three years until his public defender works out a plea bargain for him involving a reduced charge in return for admitting that he sexually abused and murdered Hector. Hodda refuses to make such an admission, however, claiming that Benson had coerced the confession out of him by threatening to send him to prison as a child molester.
He fires his lawyer and hires elite criminal defense attorney Lisa Hassler, who represents him pro bono for the publicity. Hassler argues that Benson forced Hodda's confession out of him after several hours of sleep deprivation and threats on his life. She then calls forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Huang, who has consulted on several SVU cases over the years, as a witness for the defense. Huang testifies that Hodda has a pathological fear of being labeled a pedophile, and confessed because he believed he would be killed in prison if he were labeled as such. Worse, auxiliary police officer Steven Lomitan, an emotionally disturbed cop wannabe who had investigated Hector's disappearance for years, is forced to admit in court that he had bribed a clerk to find out what the jury was saying.
Hodda takes the stand in his own defense, breaking down in tears as he accuses Benson of threatening to get him killed unless he said what she wanted to hear. Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba cross-examines Hodda and brings up his links to Hector's murder, as well as his penchant for hanging around children in public parks. Hodda once again denies having anything to do with any murders, and emphatically denies being sexually attracted to little boys. In the end, the jury cannot decide whether or not Hodda is guilty, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.
Hodda's luck finally runs out, however, when Wyatt's parents, who had at first refused to let Wyatt testify, decide to help Hecdtor's mother by agreeing to testify about what Hodda did to their son. Hodda is then found guilty of kidnapping and sexual abuse of children, and imprisoned for life.