Kimberly Hockaday already had one child at home and had another on the way when she entered Lowell women’s prison in March 2013.
At 26, she had lived a life beyond her years. Hockaday, who grew up in Perry, Florida, started taking drugs when she was 12. When she was 18, she saw her friend, Patricia Knight, stabbed to death and fed into a wood chipper, she said.
A year later, she was sentenced to serve the first of three stints at Lowell, on charges of grand theft and burglary.
When she got to Lowell in 2007 — a year after the highly publicized murder — she began having panic attacks, Hockaday said in an interview Friday. Investigators tried to question her, but she resisted, believing that the killer might harm her or her family, she said.
Throughout the ordeal, she was harassed by corrections officers, who would find creative ways to send her to the more restrictive form of incarceration known as confinement, she said. Records show that she often got caught smoking on the compound. The isolation took its toll on her mental health, she said.
“I would freak out in there and think blood was all over me, and there wasn’t anything there,” Hockaday said.
She was released in 2008 but was back in prison two years later on a probation violation. The corruption was rampant at the prison, she said, but was nothing compared to what she would endure when she returned in 2013 on theft charges.
She was several months’ pregnant, and this time, she vowed to do anything possible to stay out of confinement.
“I can deal with being locked up — but I can’t deal with being locked up in a 12-foot cell by myself without anything, not even hygiene items,” she said.
She gave birth to a boy in September 2013 and, as all pregnant women at Lowell are required to do, gave up custody to someone on the outside — in this case, her fiancé.
Weeks after her son was born, a corrections officer began bringing her cigarettes and making sexual advances, which she said she initially rebuffed.
She never complained, she said, because she saw what happens to inmate complaints.
“There’s a grievance box, and you put them in there. But the same officer you write up will take it out of the box and tear it up in your face,” she said.
She had sex with him in the laundry room in Charlie dorm in Lowell’s main unit, she said. She also was coerced, she said, into having sex with two other officers.
On Feb. 1, 2014 — a few weeks early — Hockaday was released from Lowell.
And she was pregnant again.
On Facebook, she lamented her predicament. On April 22, she said that a test showed she was 14-16 weeks along.
The man who was now her husband called the prison. Hockaday said the prison’s inspector, Angelique Munnerlyn, was assigned to investigate and called to arrange an interview.
Hockaday recalls telling Munnerlyn she wanted a lawyer present.
“She said ‘No, it’s OK, you don’t need to talk to nobody but me,’ and at that point, I hung up on her,” Hockaday said.
When Hockaday delivered her healthy boy, it was roughly seven months after her release from prison. She gave him up for adoption.
In September, the Miami Herald called the Marion County prosecutor’s office to talk about possible corruption at Lowell. Ric Ridgway, the Marion County chief assistant prosecutor, recalled hearing about a case involving an inmate who had possibly become pregnant by a corrections officer.
He said the FDC told him that it couldn’t find the inmate, and therefore the case had languished. Ridgway, however, said his investigator had no trouble finding Hockaday, who identified the officer she thought was the father.
The child was located, and the state obtained his DNA and the suspect officer’s DNA. They didn’t match, however.
Confronted with the results, Hockaday admitted she had been having sex with three different officers at Lowell. By then, she was back in jail, on another parole violation. Faced with possibly having to return to Lowell, she refused to identify the other officers.
Her initial misidentification of the father will make prosecuting the real father — even if she identifies him — difficult, Ridgway said.
The Department of Corrections told the Miami Herald that it had no knowledge of any inmates who conceived while in custody.