Third-strike offender sentenced to life

A third-strike violent offender was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month after the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office was able to use a 2012 state wiretapping law to convict him of a stabbing in Frankford.

Don Carvica Hogue, 54, had been in federal prison from the mid-1990s until several months prior to the March 16, 2014, assault of another man outside SEPTA’s Arrott Transportation Center on the 4700 block of Frankford Ave., said Assistant DA Edward Grant.

In fact, Hogue was still on federal parole when he took a kitchen knife to the neck of a stranger in a dispute over a cigarette lighter. The 43-year-old man victim had borrowed Hogue’s lighter, but didn’t return it quickly enough for Hogue’s liking, Grant said.

Suffering from multiple wounds, the victim fell to the ground as Hogue fled. The victim lost a lot of blood, but survived.

Investigators had few leads about the attacker’s identity until a relative of Hogue contacted police to report she had recorded a telephone conversation in which Hogue admitted to the knife attack. At the time, Hogue’s family feared he was going to attack them, too.

Under Pennsylvania law, all parties to a phone conversation must be aware that they are being recorded for that recording to be used as evidence in a criminal case. But in 2012, the legislature passed an exception to the wiretap act that allows victims or witnesses to record a call without the other party’s knowledge if they believe that evidence of an imminent crime of violence may be obtained.

Last December, a jury convicted Hogue of aggravated assault and related offenses for the 2014 stabbing. 

During a March 3 sentencing hearing, Grant identified Hogue as a five-time offender with a violent criminal history dating back to the early 1980s. Common Pleas Court Judge Anne Marie Coyle sentenced Hogue to life in prison without the possibility of parole. ••