The killing of Ernest Hoskins: a matter of intent 

In November 2012, Ernest Hoskins was shot and killed by his boss during a business meeting. With the killer now charged with manslaughter, a family's search for justice highlights the often blurry line between recklessness and murder.

Page 3 of 8

Nikki Hoskins said her husband was excited about working for Reynolds. As Reynell Industries' first salesman, he soon oversaw the hiring of two more salespeople. Ernest thought it might be the business opportunity he'd been waiting on.

"He felt like this job could take him to where he was trying to be," she said. "He and Chris had discussed a lot of opportunities that were coming up, travel and doing sales with the company. He moved up to a management position in two weeks."

Though Reynolds invited Ernest to bring Nikki to his house for cookouts and get-togethers, Nikki said she was working two jobs at the time and never went. Ernest, on the other hand, seemed to be over there all the time. At least once, she said, Chris, Ernest and another employee went to the firing range to shoot some of the many guns Chris owned. Eventually, Nikki said, Reynolds tried to give Ernest a large caliber handgun — a gun she now believes to be the .44 semi-automatic that later killed him — but she wouldn't allow it in the house because of their adopted daughter and the baby on the way. After Ernest told Reynolds he couldn't take the gun, Nikki said Reynolds gave them a set of swords and several large daggers.

That odd bit of generosity aside, Nikki said she began to question how Ernest was being paid. "He made sales, and he was supposed to be commissioned off of them, but it seemed like every time he was supposed to receive pay from the commission, it was pushed back and he didn't get it."

Ernest's mother, Monica Hoskins, said she also thought something was strange with her son's employment. He was often broke, she said, and drove the car he'd bought the previous July without tags for months because he couldn't afford to pay the taxes, even after he started working for Reynolds. When she finally agreed to help him get the paperwork on his car in order, he came back the same week and asked for a small loan to get him by.

"I didn't feel like he was paying him right," she said. "I asked him, 'Where's all your money going, honey?' "

Monica Hoskins said that though her son started out receiving a paycheck every week, that soon switched to every two weeks. "What job pays you weekly," she said, "and all of a sudden it turns to every two weeks? How is he paying you? But you're steady telling me about all these business deals you're making?"

On the morning of Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, Ernest Hoskins showed up at his mother's house, as he often did, in the Broadmoor neighborhood near the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to eat breakfast. By that time, Monica and Nikki Hoskins had seen the strain that working for Reynell Industries was putting on Ernest, both personally and financially. A week before her husband's death, Nikki said, she found out that he was driving every morning from their home in North Little Rock to Reynolds' home in Ward to work, almost 30 miles one way, a revelation that caused some friction between them because of the amount of gas it took to make the commute. Monica Hoskins said that on Halloween night, she was driving with her son when he received a phone call from Chris Reynolds, who was "furious" because he wanted Ernest to terminate another employee. Her son was calm, professional and apologetic throughout the call, Hoskins said, never raising his voice.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by David Koon

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Michelle Duggar and the Family Council try to torpedo Fayetteville non-discrimination ordinance with lies

    The Arkansas Family Council has enlisted Michelle Duggar to oppose a Fayetteville non-discrimination ordinance with a fear-mongering robocall.
  • Fayetteville Council votes 6-2 for civil rights ordinance that protects gay, transgender people

    At 3:20 a.m. today, the Fayetteville City Council voted 6-2 to approve a historic civil rights ordinance that includes LGBT people in its umbrella of employment, housing and accommodation protections. The vote followed 10 hours of comment from 140 people and poignant testimony from gay and transgender people about discrimination they've experienced.
  • Train derailment in Hoxie kills 2; homes evacuated

    Two people were killed with two trains collided near Hwy. 67 early this morning, and State Police are evacuating residents of the southern end of the city while the trains burn. U.S. 67 south of Hoxie and U.S. 63 are closed. The trains were carrying hazardous chemicals.
  • Minimum wage group turns in nearly 70,000 additional signatures

    Give Arkansas a Raise Now, the group seeking to qualify a ballot measure to raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour by 2017, turned in an additional 69,070 signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office today.
  • American Bridge releases report on Koch brothers' environmental impacts and layoffs

    American Bridge, the liberal PAC formed by David Brock, the former Clinton foe now dedicated to round-the-clock Hillary Clinton defender, is out today with a new report on environmental impacts and layoffs from Koch Industries. The report focuses on the business activities of the Koch brothers — more famous for hundreds of millions in political spending aimed at slashing government services, regulation and taxes — in twelve states, including Arkansas. From the report: "The Kochs' extreme, self-serving agenda is bad for working families. And that reality is starkly embodied not only by their political persuasions, but by their business endeavors."

Latest in Cover Stories

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments


© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation