A father accused of killing his three children had only one-word answers to offer during his arraignment Monday afternoon.
"Yes," said Robert Hodges, when the court commissioner asked if he understood he was being charged with three counts of murder and one count of the attempted murder of his wife.
And "no," when asked if the 33-year-old man could afford an attorney to represent him at trial.
Hodges was arrested last week after his children -- 11-year-old Kelvin Hodges, 9-year-old Julie Hodges and Lucas Hodges, who was born in January -- were found dead in the family's apartment.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges Monday.
Yolo County District Attorney, Jeff Reisig, alleged Hodges used a belt as a weapon and that he also attempted to kill his wife the same night.
Nearly a dozen people, who appeared to be the family of Hodges' wife though they declined to identify themselves after the arraignment, took up the first two rows of seats in Department One of the Yolo County Superior Court during Hodges' hearing.
Another woman, who also declined to identify herself, sat on one of the long, wooden benches on the opposite side of the court room, a black veil covering her head.
As the court commissioner asked Hodges a series of questions, those in attendance remained quiet as they stared at the accused. A few wiped away tears.
West Sacramento Police Chief Thomas McDonald noted first responders found a "significant scene" when they arrived at the Hodges' home on Sept. 13.
"This particular crime would shock the conscious anywhere in the world, quite frankly," McDonald said.
Hodges' preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 2, 2017, in Department 14.
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