Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:16 pm

raine1953 wrote:OMG, I kind of thought they may have been dismembered so they could be put in the tree but reading this just makes me sick. I so feel for Sarah and pray that she didn't witness the murders or god forbid the dismembering! And her poor Dad! Having the knowledge of whatever that monster did to Sarah and to now know his son is dead, stabbed and dismembered? OMG.
This has got to stop! Why do we have so many sick individuals now? I know no one has the answer to this, I'm just ranting.

I am not a psychologist, but I don't think you need a degree to see that this creep (Matthew Hoffman) had serious problems for some time! From earlier posts (posted above), he seemed to demonstrate anti-social behaviour as a teenager, and it obviously escalated through the years. I don't know if he was into horror movies or video games, but I have a 10 year old son who has friends who are already playing violent video games. I don't let him play the violent ones, but I really feel that this is where young men (esp. with anti-social behaviour) start to become desensitized to violence. Then, add to that all the violent movies and TV shows available to be watched (ie. "Saw" movies and the "Dexter" show on TV) and it really doesn't surprise me that this happened!! We are living in a culture of violence & crime - is it any wonder we have so much violence & crime?!? umno


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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by lisette on Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:03 pm

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Note: There is some talk going on in the comments that the 13 year old girl was writing Hoffman love letters/notes. Have no clue if this is true or not.

I really hope that is not true about Sarah writing love notes to Hoffman...Can you imagine the guilt that she would have to feel?! If true, she could never have known that an adolescent's innocent crush would have such horrific consequences! My heart aches for her, even if this is just malicious gossip...Even without that component to this, she is going to have a tough time...
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Normal Coroner: 2 Ohio women, boy stabbed and dismembered

Post by Nama on Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:58 pm

Blood covered so much of an Ohio home where two women and an 11-year-old boy were stabbed to death that several rooms have to be gutted, a family friend said.
Tina Herrmann, her son, Kody Maynard, and her friend Stephanie Sprang were stabbed multiple times, and their dismembered remains were put in garbage bags and lowered into a hollow tree, Knox County Coroner Jennifer Ogle said Saturday.
Authorities found the bodies Thursday, along with the remains of the family dog, a miniature pinscher named Tanner, said Joe Pejsa, a family friend.
Pejsa, the uncle of Herrmann's former live-in boyfriend, Greg Borders, said he was the first person allowed inside Herrmann's home after investigators cleared the scene. He cleaned blood off the bathroom walls with bleach so his nephew wouldn't have to see it.
"It was terrible," he said. "Everything led back to the bathroom."
The victims disappeared Nov. 10 along with Herrmann's daughter, 13-year-old Sarah Maynard, who was found bound and gagged days later in the basement of an unemployed tree-cutter, Matthew Hoffman. Hoffman is accused of kidnapping the girl and keeping her in the basement of his home in Mount Vernon, about 10 miles west of Howard in central Ohio.
Authorities say Hoffman provided information that led investigators to the bodies in a wildlife preserve. He is the only suspect in the killings. His attorney has declined to comment.
The disappearances and subsequent discovery of the bodies have unfolded like a horror movie in Mount Vernon, where people banded together to form search parties in hopes of finding the victims.
Pejsa answered the door Saturday at Herrmann's home, where he was moving out furniture with Borders, who did not want to be interviewed. A memorial of flowers and balloons was growing on the front lawn near a tree that Pejsa says Kody used as second base when he played kickball.
The bodies were found at the base of the tree in Fredericktown, and authorities had to cut away part of the trunk to get them out, Pejsa said investigators told him.
Preliminary autopsy reports show that the three were stabbed multiple times with a knife in the back and chest Nov. 10.
"They were then placed inside large plastic garbage bags and later lowered into the hollow of a large tree," Ogle said in a statement.
It's not clear why the four were targeted, and authorities have not speculated on a motive. But the sheriff has suggested that Hoffman, who spent six years in a Colorado prison for arson and other charges, had been watching them for some time.
In the months before they died, Pejsa said, Borders and Herrmann suspected somebody was watching them. Several months ago, they saw a man dressed in camouflage sitting on a tree stump across the street, staring at their home. He said Borders couldn't say for sure if the man on the stump was Hoffman, but he believes it was him.
"There would be knocks at the door and people would take off," he said.
Pejsa said the family has been moving some of the furniture out of the home and has hired a company to gut some of the rooms.
"Greg has no intention of coming back to this place," he said.

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:13 am

Rainbow said:

I don't know if he was into horror movies or video games, but I have a 10 year old son who has friends who are already playing violent video games. I don't let him play the violent ones, but I really feel that this is where young men (esp. with anti-social behaviour) start to become desensitized to violence. Then, add to that all the violent movies and TV shows available to be watched (ie. "Saw" movies and the "Dexter" show on TV) and it really doesn't surprise me that this happened!! We are living in a culture of violence & crime - is it any wonder we have so much violence & crime?!?
I completely agree with you. I am schocked by some of the video games that are out and these kids are using. They think nothing of it. How can these kids then go out in the world and have any kind of conscious or accountability? The young kids who play these games would laugh at us old foogies, but it's true.


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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:54 am

I'm glad that someone else feels the same way! Sometimes I think I must be getting old (I'm 43) because I just can't stand all of the violence on TV & the movies. I don't mind a good suspense movie, but I can do without the rest of it! I'm finding it really hard to raise a child in this environment... sometimes I feel like moving out to a remote location & starting a commune (with very limited electronic devices)!! :lol!:
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Normal Death sentences rare in Ohio county where 3 killed

Post by Nama on Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:02 pm

Records indicate that death sentences are rare in the central Ohio county where three people were slain and dismembered two weeks ago and their remains stuffed in a hollow tree trunk.
Over the past three decades, only three defendants in Knox County have faced charges that could result in a sentence of death. A review of court records by The Associated Press finds just one of those defendants was condemned to die, but he died in prison of natural causes in 2000.
The only suspect in the recent slayings is being held on a $1 million bond on a single count of kidnapping, though more charges are expected next month.
A Knox County judge on Tuesday plans a hearing to weigh the evidence for the kidnapping count against 30-year-old Matthew Hoffman.

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Praying For Faith on Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:11 pm

Rainbow,
You are not alone. I would not allow my children to watch TV shows, movies, or listen to certain music. They were not happy, because their friends were all allow to do what they wanted. Oh well! I hope when they have children of age, that they do the same.

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Normal Man accused of Knox County murders waives court hearing

Post by Nama on Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:26 pm

Attorneys for the man suspected of killing three people in Knox County have waived a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Matthew J. Hoffman, 30, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in Mount Vernon Municipal Court on kidnapping charges. He was arrested Nov. 14 after 13-year-old Sarah Maynard was found bound and gagged in his basement. He is currently being held in lieu of $1 million cash bail.

He is expected to be charged in the deaths of Sarah's mother, Tina Herrmann, 32, her 11-year-old brother Kody Maynard, and family friend Stephanie Sprang, 41. The bodies of the three were found Thursday, dismembered and placed in trash bags found at the bottom of a hollow beech tree in the Kokosing Lake Wildlife Area.

Knox County Prosecutor John C. Thatcher said the case will be transferred to the Knox County Common Pleas Court. Charges, including the kidnapping charge, will be presented to a Knox County grand jury in four to six weeks, Thatcher said in a news release.

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Normal Community Shows Support For Victims

Post by Nama on Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:48 pm

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:12 am

Thanks for sharing that, PFF! I do think that there are more parents out there that are daring to "go against the tide" of what is POPULAR ("everybody has one") and do what is RIGHT. I really feel that as parents, we have a responsibility to raise our children to be responsible, respectful & compassionate. Somehow, I don't think that violent movies & video games help!

One final word on this subject (sorry if it is off the topic): My mom always reminds me of a story (don't know if it is true or an "old wives tale") of a young man whose mother gave him everything he wanted throughout life. As he grew older, he got in serious trouble with the law & was sentenced to be executed. At his execution, he was given the chance to say his "last words" to his mother. As he bent over to whisper in her ear, he bit her on the ear! I guess the point is that, although the mother thought she was being "loving" by giving in to everything he wanted, it actually ended up hurting him in the end & he despised his mother for it. It is a solemn reminder for me to show "tough love" to my son - I don't want to get "bit on the ear" one day!!
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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:46 am

Rainbow, I'd never heard that story or wive's tail before. But it is true, if you give into a childs every whim, I do believe they grow up with a sense of entitlement. They either become cruel...possibly to the point of murder, or they have no empathy for others and basically, it is always about their needs, their wants, their desires..and if the don't get exactly what they want..they can become very hostile.

Do we have any word on Hoffman's parent's? Are they alive? Have they spoken out? Is he an only child? Was he spoiled rotten?

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Nama on Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:28 am

by BJ in OR on Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:17 am

What I found in a People Search:
Matthew may have a 35 yr old sister.
His mother and stepfather live in Mt Vernon Ohio.
His father and a stepmother live in Warren Ohio

I don't know if his bio father is living or not. His mother has visited him in jail.

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:45 am

Where did you read that his mother had visited him? I cannot begin to imagine how I would react if this were my son. crazy3

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by lisette on Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:01 pm

Praying For Faith posted:
He met again with his attorney for more than two hours on Wednesday, before his mother, Patricia Hedglin, came for a 20-minute visit at 10 p.m., the first day of visiting hours. Hedglin and her husband live near Herrmann's home, seemingly the only connection between Hoffman and the families.
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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by lisette on Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:08 pm

BJ posted:
Hoffman's mother told 10TV News on Thursday that she visited her son in jail for the first time on Wednesday night, and that the visit may have played a part in his decision to reveal the location of the bodies.

She said that her son told her that he was "relieved" when authorities raided his home because "Sarah would be able to go home."

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:02 pm

Wrapitup wrote:Do we have any word on Hoffman's parent's? Are they alive? Have they spoken out? Is he an only child? Was he spoiled rotten?

The only thing that I know is that he has a "nice" mother & a stepfather. It really makes me wonder what his father was like & if he had any contact with him over the years? Often, I think children (esp. boys) may feel abandoned by their father when there is a divorce - esp. if the mother remarries. I sense that his inner hostility may lead back to the early years when his parents divorced... JMO!!

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by raine1953 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:13 pm

I think I read (up thread) that his Mother visited him just prior to him telling his attorney where to find the bodies. At the time I wondered if his Mom was the reason he told and if that's true, I'm glad she visited him. I don't know what I would do if this was my son, god forbid I would want to kill him myself but if I could get him to tell the truth I know I would go see him just for that.
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Normal Suspicious fire at home where Ohio family was murdered

Post by Nama on Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:41 pm

Authorities are investigating a suspicious fire that broke out at a Howard, Ohio home where two women and an 11-year-old boy were stabbed to death and dismembered.

Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District Chief Larry Stimpert said firefighters were sent Monday night to the home of 32-year-old Tina Herrmann, where they found the porch on fire. The fire was quickly contained, damaging only the porch and melted some siding. It did not extend inside the home and no one was home at the time.

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Normal Victims Mourned

Post by Nama on Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:44 pm

Mourners carried sunflowers and baseballs as they left a visitation service Tuesday for a mother and son who were stabbed to death and dismembered in central Ohio, and a family friend who died with them was remembered as full of life and always smiling.

Friends of Tina Herrmann and her 11-year-old son, Kody Maynard, said there were two closed caskets and mounds of flowers at the service at a church in Gahanna, about 40 miles southwest of their home in Howard, where they were killed Nov. 10. The baseballs bore Kody's name and dates of birth and death.

A co-worker of Herrmann said that among those in the reception line was Herrmann's 13-year-old daughter, Sarah Maynard, who was reported missing on the day of the killings, along with her mother, brother and family friend Stephanie Sprang. The girl was found bound and gagged in the basement of a home in Mount Vernon, about 10 miles from the site of the stabbings, four days before the remains of the others were discovered hidden in a hollow tree.

"She was being very, very strong," said Teresa Partlow, 32, of Walhonding. "I couldn't imagine being that strong."

At a funeral home in Mount Vernon, mourners looked at photo and video montages of Sprang, 41, a perpetually smiling, sunny woman who had three children.

"She was always smiling. Always having a good time. Never seen her down," said Randall Alicie, who noted that Sprang and her father were regular participants in karaoke shows he puts on around rural Knox County. "She was a character, a real character. Full of life. Enjoyed living."

Dozens attended the visitation, including Sheriff David Barber, whose office handled the search for the missing.

Dee Hall said she wanted to pay her respects for the victims, the youngest of whom attended school with her grandson.

"It's part of the healing process for this community," she said. "We don't experience stuff like this every day here. I'd like to believe that something this horrific has brought this community closer together."

The search for the four began after authorities said an unusual amount of blood was found in the home of the 32-year-old Herrmann, where Sprang had been visiting.

Investigators said Sarah Maynard was found four days later in the home of Matthew Hoffman and that he later gave information that led investigators to the remains of the others in a wildlife preserve. Hoffman, a 30-year-old unemployed tree-cutter, has been charged with one count of kidnapping and is being held in the Knox County jail on $1 million bond.

Authorities say he is the only suspect in the killings, but he has not been charged in the deaths. His attorney has declined comment.

Authorities have not speculated on a motive. The sheriff has suggested that Hoffman, who spent six years in a Colorado prison for arson and other charges, had been watching them for some time.

The families of Herrmann and Maynard issued a statement to members of the media at the start of visitation on Tuesday, thanking law enforcement, members of the community, relatives, friends and others.

"We wish to take a moment to thank the nation for the outpouring of love, prayers and support that you all continue to provide," the statement said. "To the residents of Knox County who grieve with us as well, we would like to share that all of you who are touched by this tragedy, whether directly or indirectly, are in our hearts and prayers."

The family also offered paper baseballs on which mourners could draw or write memories or condolences.

Herrmann was remembered by friends as full of laughter and life, and Partlow called her a "joker" who would flick rubber bands at work and sing "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

She said she has lost sleep since the four were first reported missing, and that when she pulls into work at Dairy Queen she still expects to see Herrmann's truck in the parking lot.

"It's like a really bad nightmare that I haven't woken up from," she said. "We don't understand why something like this happened. It just doesn't make sense."

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Normal Fire at Ohio home where 3 were slain ruled arson

Post by Nama on Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:41 pm

A fire that broke out at a Howard home where two women and an 11-year-old boy were fatally stabbed was ruled arson Wednesday, NBC station WCMH reported.
Shane Cartmill with the state fire marshal's office said specific details, including how the fire on King Beach Drive was set Monday night, would not be released immediately because of the criminal investigation.

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:52 am

BJ in OR wrote:A co-worker of Herrmann said that among those in the reception line was Herrmann's 13-year-old daughter, Sarah Maynard, who was reported missing on the day of the killings, along with her mother, brother and family friend Stephanie Sprang. The girl was found bound and gagged in the basement of a home in Mount Vernon, about 10 miles from the site of the stabbings, four days before the remains of the others were discovered hidden in a hollow tree.

"She was being very, very strong," said Teresa Partlow, 32, of Walhonding. "I couldn't imagine being that strong."

This poor girl - this is just the beginning of an endless "reliving" of these horrific memories! Next will be the trial, and I'm sure she will be asked to testify against Hoffman. I hope that she has a strong support system around her - she will be needing it!! It\\'s Not Fair
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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:36 am

I completely agree, Rainbow!

So, someone set Hoffman's house on fire?

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Nama on Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:47 am

by Wrapitup Today at 3:36 am So, someone set Hoffman's house on fire?
No, someone set Sarah's mother's house (porch) on fire.

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:02 pm

That seems rather cruel! Maybe some neighbour wants to burn the house down to try to get rid of the reminder of what went on there! thinking
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Normal FBI receiving inquiries about Hoffman

Post by Nama on Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:54 pm

Since the arrest of Matthew Hoffman on kidnapping charges last week, FBI agent Harry Trombitas, who aided the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in the case, has received several inquiries about Hoffman.
“I have gotten a call or two,” Trombitas said. “One was from in state and one from out of state. It’s not so much that they suspected Hoffman was involved in their homicides but if we would develop any information that he might be involved in anything else to keep them in mind.”
Trombitas said the FBI has had something called the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program in place since the early 1980s. ViCAP maintains the largest investigative repository of major violent crime cases in the United States.
“It is a web-based data information center designed to collect and analyze information about homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and other violent crimes involving unidentified human remains,” Trombitas said. “The database compares information in an attempt to identify similar cases and help move investigations forward.”
ViCAP’s mission is to facilitate cooperation and coordination between law enforcement agencies and to provide support to those agencies in their efforts to apprehend and prosecute violent serial offenders, especially those who cross jurisdictional boundaries.
Trombitas said that since its creation by the Department of Justice in 1985, more than 4,000 law enforcement agencies have submitted cases to ViCAP, and there are currently over 82,000 cases in the database.
“Nearly 2,700 investigators and analysts are registered users of the system,” he added. “Together they forge a powerful nationwide network of professionals collaborating on a daily basis.”
Law enforcement agencies may obtain access to ViCAP’s database via a secure Internet link on the Law Enforcement Online network, by contacting the ViCAP unit at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], or by visiting [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Users can enter cases directly into ViCAP via the web and conduct queries on a real-time basis.

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Normal Former Bazetta man led troubled life, now under suicide watch

Post by Nama on Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:02 am

In the days ahead of his 30th birthday, not much was going right in Matthew Hoffman’s already troubled life.

He and his girlfriend, who accused him of choking her during an argument at his home on Oct. 24, had broken up. She feared she might die.

A few days later, he lost his part-time tree-trimming job at Fast Eddy’s after creeping out his supervisor and overselling his experience.

Money was a constant concern. Besides the bills accompanying day-to-day life, he owed $2 million in restitution for setting fire to a condominium complex in Colorado.

Even his dog had run away.

But all that still doesn’t explain how an odd man became a mass-murder and kidnapping suspect with a 13-year-old girl tied up in his basement.

Criminologists say triggers such as a job loss or the end of a relationship can ignite a buried fuse that burns into violence, even murder.

In his jail cell in Mount Vernon, the most-reviled man in Knox County cried last Sunday, the evening of his arrest. He threatened to harm himself and is under suicide watch, with deputies checking on him every 10 minutes.

Hoffman, who turned 30 Nov. 1, had not gone out of his way to cultivate many friends over three decades. He basically kept to himself.

A friend described him as intelligent but without a lick of common sense; a man who was physically strong at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds and imbued with a personality that embraced risk.

He was the type to catch a squirrel in his attic, clean it, fry it and eat it.

Hoffman would turn back flips off picnic tables without prompting and once strung a tow strap between two trees in his backyard and repeatedly tried to cross it like a tightrope walker.

During a parade once, he dashed from the curb and ran back and forth beneath the undercarriage of a giant moving truck as others watched in disbelief.

And the trees. There always were trees in Hoffman’s life. He built a tree house as a teenager. He climbed trees for both his avocation and recreation.

He even would climb a tree in his yard and peer at his neighbors, one of whom described him as a “real weirdo.” Neighborhood kids would join Hoffman in swinging from ropes he tied in the trees.

In search of taller conquests, the friend said, Hoffman would tell tales of clambering up trees throughout Knox County with his tree-climbing gear.

He knew the woods and remote spots of Knox County well. In the months before buying his 109-year-old house on Columbus Road, he was a nomad, living out of his car and pitching a tent in secretive spots amid the trees.

On Thursday, the bodies of Tina Herrmann; her 11-year-old son, Kody Maynard; and family friend Stephanie Sprang were pulled from a hollow beech at the Kokosing Lake Wildlife Area north of Fredericktown.

Hoffman’s friend, who asked not to be named, said he was not surprised that the bodies of those snatched from Apple Valley were found inside the 65-foot-tall tree.

Early last week, the man told the sheriff’s office and The Dispatch that searchers should be looking up trees, in trees, follow the trees. The friend said Hoffman was a strategic thinker. He doubted that Hoffman just stumbled across the tree.

Matthew John Hoffman is the son of Robert and Patricia Hoffman. He grew up in the Warren area, moving with his mother to Knox County in 1997 when his parents divorced.

Alice Morelli recalled the 14- to 16-year-old Hoffman who lived next door to her in Bazetta. He always appeared unhappy and acted strangely, she said.

“He was really lost. He was on a bad path.” The youth would jump off his roof onto a trampoline. Morelli’s dog hated him, barking at him wildly on sight. Hoffman responded to the dog with an unemotional stare, she said.

Hoffman and his buddies spent time in the woods and built a tree house. He and a friend got in trouble with the police in 1997 when they were found on the roof of Lakeview High School. Hoffman said he just wanted to see whether he could get up there.

After moving to Apple Valley, Hoffman attended East Knox High School, graduating in 1999, while studying industrial electricity at the Knox County Career Center.

Hoffman soon headed west, traveling to Steamboat Springs, Colo., and landing a job with a plumbing contractor.

Then, the man with no rap sheet turned criminal. In a bid to cover up his 2000 burglary of a condominium complex, he sprinkled 10 gallons of gasoline and set it ablaze. The fire sent 16 people running from their condos and caused $2 million in damage.

Hoffman fled back home to Knox County, where his mother and stepfather lived in Apple Valley. But police suspected Hoffman in another crime as well, the theft of welcome-to-the-city signs, and he agreed to return to clear the matter up. Police then arrested him and charged him with the arson, as well.

Charles Feldmann, who prosecuted the case, said last week that Hoffman “struck me as someone who had a horrific appetite, a premeditated appetite, to cause that kind of damage and the potential loss of life.”

Hoffman was sentenced to eight years in prison and served six years. After his parole, he returned to Ohio in 2007, where he reported to local parole authorities.

Hoffman’s friend in Knox County tried to reintroduce him to life on the outside. At a McDonald’s, his friend had to explain a “McChicken” to him. Hoffman appeared bulked up and better read.

The ex-convict stayed out of trouble and was released from parole in October. He had paid about $4,800 of the $2 million in restitution he owed for the arson.

Hoffman struggled to find work, signing on a while as a truck driver and sometimes staying with his mother, Patricia Hedglin, in Apple Valley, about a third of a mile from where the two children and two women vanished Nov. 10.

He reportedly worked as a tree-trimmer for a Columbus company for a time, but company officials could not be reached to confirm his employment.

The friend described Hoffman as a tightwad, reluctant to spend what little cash he had. He took a big plunge in late 2009, getting a loan to buy his deteriorating house at 49 Columbus Rd. for $37,500.

Tylor Ackley, 25, seemed dumbfounded that Hoffman, who had been so good with neighborhood kids, is accused of kidnapping a girl.

“We’d see him out and about, climbing trees with the kids next door,” said Ackley, who lives behind Hoffman’s house. “They always left their back door open, and there’d be kids running in and out.”

Nicole Martin, 16, lives two doors from Hoffman’s house. Her aunt and cousins’ house is sandwiched between. She’d spend summer afternoons climbing trees with Hoffman and the other kids, swinging on ropes he tied onto high limbs.

But something was odd about him, she said.

“He was weird,” Nicole said. “It’s just weird to know that he’s been next door and he could do something so horrible.”

Hoffman’s friend never saw it coming.

“The guy was kind of off, a little weird, but I chalked a lot of it up to being in prison,” the friend said. He never knew Hoffman to be violent. As an outdoorsman, he had knifes, but the friend never knew him to have a gun.

“I can’t fathom him killing anyone. But, something had to snap ... maybe he’s living in a fantasy world, stuck in his imagination? I sense he is happy with the outcome, that he caused turmoil and is infamous.”

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Post by Guest on Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:28 am

Thanks for the info, BJ! It is interesting to learn more about Hoffman, and how he came to be where he is today. It sounds like he was a "different" kind of guy, but he seemed to relate well to children! I'm not exactly sure what to make of him - he obviously struggled with inner "demons"... and finally gave in. I think if he had gone for some therapy (maybe his mom & stepfather could have paid for it), he wouldn't be in the situation he is in today. And those three innocent people would still be alive!! So very sad! crying
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Post by Wrapitup on Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:52 am

BJ, that was a very interesting article on Hoffman. I don't quite know what to make of him. The killing and eating of a squirrel is beyond strange.

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Normal No more suicide watch for Hoffman

Post by Nama on Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:22 pm

A Knox County man charged with kidnapping and suspected in a triple slaying was taken off of suicide watch on Tuesday.

Matthew Hoffman's attorney said mental health experts examined him and decided he was no longer a danger to himself, 10TV News reported.

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Normal Attorney: Ohio slayings suspect off suicide watch

Post by Praying For Faith on Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:17 pm

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Attorney: Ohio slayings suspect off suicide watch

(AP) – 10 hours ago

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The only suspect in a kidnapping and triple-slaying in a rural Ohio community is off suicide watch and maintaining a positive attitude in jail, his lawyer said Wednesday.

A grand jury that met this week did not indict Matthew Hoffman, but additional charges could come soon, defense attorney Bruce Malek said.

"I would certainly hope and expect that any indictment be brought at the earliest opportunity," Malek said. "It serves no purpose to delay that grand jury."

State and national media descended on the small Ohio city of Mount Vernon, about 50 miles east of Columbus, for a week as authorities searched for four people who disappeared from a nearby home Nov. 10. On Nov. 14, one of the missing people, 13-year-old Sarah Maynard, was found bound and gagged but alive in Hoffman's basement.

Four days later, using information provided by Hoffman through his attorneys, authorities found the dismembered bodies of Maynard's mother, Tina Herrmann; her brother, 11-year-old Kody Maynard; and Stephanie Sprang, a friend of Herrmann.

The county coroner said the three were stabbed multiple times, and their dismembered remains put in garbage bags and lowered into a hollow tree. The remains of the family dog were also found in the tree.

Malek said he expects Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher to either call a special grand jury because of the complexity of the case or present it to a regularly scheduled grand jury early next month.

Malek said investigators are still obtaining reports and awaiting lab testing on various pieces of evidence.

Thatcher said that grand jury proceedings are secret under Ohio law and he therefore could not comment.

Hoffman had been placed on suicide watch soon after his Nov. 14 arrest. A doctor associated with a local counseling center examined Hoffman the day before Thanksgiving and determined that he could be taken off suicide watch, Malek said. The move was made a few days later.

Hoffman remains in a segregated cell but can wear a regular jail uniform, has access to books and television and isn't under constant observation, Malek said.

"Under all the circumstances I think he's doing as well as one can," Malek said. "He's maintaining a positive attitude."

Sheriff David Barber did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Malek wouldn't comment on whether, if Hoffman is charged with the slayings, he would ask that a trial be held elsewhere because of publicity. He acknowledged the high interest generated by the killings and Hoffman's arrest.

"I'm not sure there's venue that doesn't have some knowledge of the case," Malek said.



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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:18 am

Poor dude, all he has in jail are grits. No squirrels to munge on. Sarcasm

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Post by Guest on Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:36 am

:lol!: Or trees to climb!!

I don't think he will be climbing any trees or munching on any squirrels for the rest of his life!
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Normal Hoffman charged in Knox County deaths

Post by Praying For Faith on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:22 pm

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TRIPLE SLAYING
Hoffman charged in Knox County deaths
Indictment includes rape, kidnapping counts

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 02:54 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:07 PM
By Allison Manning
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

While reading the charges against a Knox County man accused of three murders, rape and kidnapping, Larry Maynard said his body shook as he considered the horrors his children experienced.

Maynard's son, 11-year-old Kody Maynard, was one of three people killed on Nov. 10, along with Kody's mother, 32-year-old Tina R. Herrmann, and family friend Stephanie L. Sprang, 41. Their dismembered bodies were found more than a week later in a hollow tree.

His 13-year-old daughter was found bound and gagged in the basement of the man held in the case, Matthew J. Hoffman, 30, of 49 Columbus Rd., in Clinton Township just south of downtown Mount Vernon. Prosecutors say she had been raped.

Hoffman, who is being held in lieu of a $1 million cash bond, was indicted on Monday by a Knox County grand jury on charges that include three counts of aggravated murder, rape and aggravated burglary, according to a release by county Prosecutor John Thatcher. Hoffman will be arraigned Thursday in Mount Vernon.

"I wake up every morning and think that it's going to be a bad dream," Maynard said yesterday. "Every day, it sinks in that it's a reality. This is life now ... People say things will get better in time, but I say to them, 'You've never lost a child.'"

The Dispatch previously published the girl's name but is no longer identifying her because of the rape charge filed against Hoffman. The newspaper generally does not identify victims when sexual crimes are alleged.

The murder charges carry a maximum sentence of life without parole. Thatcher said in the release that the indictment did not contain death-penalty specifications in accordance with the wishes of the victims' families.

Thatcher would not comment further. Authorities will release more information regarding the death-penalty decision at the time of the arraignment, Thatcher said in the release.

Maynard said the past few months have been overwhelming for his family, but he thanked the law-enforcement officers and residents of Knox County and those nationwide who have sent cards, donations and prayers.

"When something like this happens, your faith in people kind of dwindles," he said. "And with the support of the community, it kind of brings back your faith that most people are good people."

He said that his daughter is in school and living with him, his wife and two younger half-brothers. The family has taken advantage of counseling and other services from the county victims-assistance program.

"She's doing as good as can be expected," Maynard said. "Our family's strong, and we'll get through this. Our faith in God is pretty strong. I know my son's in heaven."

He would not say when prosecutors had spoken to the families about removing the death penalty as an option for Hoffman.

With information from Hoffman and his attorneys, authorities located the bodies of Herrmann, Kody and Sprang on Nov. 18 inside a hollow tree in the Kokosing Lake Wildlife Area north of Fredericktown.

Because of the number of charges and their seriousness, a special grand jury was convened to hear the case, Thatcher said. Jurors heard testimony for about six hours before handing up the indictment.

Hoffman's public defender, Bruce J. Malek, did not return a call seeking comment.

In addition to life sentences on the murder charges, Hoffman faces 10-year sentences on each of the aggravated burglary, rape and kidnapping charges.

Prosecutors say Hoffman burglarized Herrmann's home at 481 King Beach Dr. in Howard.

He also is accused of removing clothing and bedding from Herrmann's home, and faces a charge of tampering with evidence, carrying a one- to five-year prison term.

And because of the conditions of the bodies, Hoffman faces three counts of gross abuse of a corpse, which carry a maximum of three years in prison on each count.

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This story includes material from the Associated Press.


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Post by CritterFan1 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:43 pm

Wrapitup wrote:Rainbow said:

I don't know if he was into horror movies or video games, but I have a 10 year old son who has friends who are already playing violent video games. I don't let him play the violent ones, but I really feel that this is where young men (esp. with anti-social behaviour) start to become desensitized to violence. Then, add to that all the violent movies and TV shows available to be watched (ie. "Saw" movies and the "Dexter" show on TV) and it really doesn't surprise me that this happened!! We are living in a culture of violence & crime - is it any wonder we have so much violence & crime?!?
I completely agree with you. I am schocked by some of the video games that are out and these kids are using. They think nothing of it. How can these kids then go out in the world and have any kind of conscious or accountability? The young kids who play these games would laugh at us old foogies, but it's true.

IMHO you are both so on the money! I have thought for a long time that violent video games influence young players in such a way that violence and death/murder seem unreal. Wonder if the little ten yr old boy that shot his mother in the head this week was a video player????????????
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Post by CritterFan1 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:56 pm

This crime is one of the most horrific crimes, ever. I cannot get the image of innocent victim's, being dismembered, stuffed into heavy duty garbage bags and stuffed into a tree. It is hard to shake the images.
What a sick "thing" he is. Sick. Would think that the planning was half of his pleasure. What goes on in someone's mind to do something this inconceivable. I am a terrible, terrible person for saying this. Get him off of suicide watch and release him into general prison population. Wonder how long he would last.
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Post by Praying For Faith on Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:40 am

Critter, this crime is a very horrific crime. This man is mental ill also.

"Get him off of suicide watch and release him into general prison population. Wonder how long he would last." He would not last long Critter.

I remembered reading this article and was able to find it again.

There are mentally ill homeless people wondering the streets and they are not getting the help that they need and deserve. Then they snap and kill some innocent person.

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"Pete EarleyThe Official Website

Ohio once was a state that provided good mental health services. It was a leader in evidence-based, community recovery programs. It was a model when it came to implementing Crisis Intervention Teams, Mental Health Courts, and jail diversion programs.

Tragically, short-sighted budget cuts and poor leadership has caused Ohio to slip from being a leader to becoming a failure.

In a recent front page story headlined: “Illusion of Treatment,” Columbus Dispatch reporters Alan Johnson and Catherine Candisky warned that Ohio’s system is “on the verge of collapse.”

Thousands have been slashed from the mental-health-care rolls. Others might have to wait months to see a psychiatrist. State funding for mental-health services has been decimated…hundreds of small group homes for the mentally ill have closed.

Prisons, nursing facilities and homeless shelters are the new homes for thousands of mentally ill Ohioans…“Our state leaders have washed their hands of Ohioans who are suffering from mental illness,” said Terry Russell, a veteran of 37 years at the local and state level in Ohio’s mental-health system. “If we are to be judged by how we treat the sickest in our society, we should all be ashamed.”

Like other states, Ohio faces huge deficients – an $8 billion budget shortfall. The governor and legislature have reacted by slashing some $100 million in the past three years from community mental health care services.

Ohio is not alone in making drastic cuts in mental health care budgets. I returned last week from Texas which is poised to cut services. Virginia may soon close two much-needed hospitals. Pick a state and you will hear the same lament. Cuts must be made and mental health services are an easy target.

While I understand the need for belt-tightening, cuts to mental health services actually cost a state money rather than saving it funds.

How is that possible?

Because serious mental disorders don’t disappear just because you stop paying to treat them. Like stepping on a balloon, the costs associated with mental illnesses simply shift over and increase costs in areas, such as jails and prisons.

The Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic research and analysis company, was asked in 2009 to study the Texas mental health service. What it found should be required reading by every governor and state legislator in our nation.

The group looked at the cost to Texas for medication, hospitalizations, clinic visits and emergency rooms visits by persons with mental disorders. Economists also factored in what they called “spill over” costs, such as lost earning potential, lost tax revenues, the costs of jails and prisons, the impact of alcohol and drug abuse in a community, and costs due to homelessness.

What it concluded was that “savings generally exceed the cost of providing mental health and substance abuse treatment in a state.”

The authors found that providing treatment for alcohol and substance abuse would give the state a return on investment of $2.26 for every $1 that was spent. Jail diversion, which enables persons with mental disorders to get treatment rather than being locked-up, averaged a return to the state of $2.70 per every $1 that it spent.

The most interesting statistic was a projection about cuts that Texas has made during the last decade. If the state had stuck with the budget that it had in 2000 for mental health and substance abuse services, rather than butchering those funds — Texas would be earning a 170% return on its money or netting $32.76 today for every dollar that it spent.

Instead, reducing services resulted in Texas losing productivity, losing jobs, and losing tax revenues. At the same time, Texas has seen an increase in state costs for jails, an increase in suicides, increases in drug and alcohol addiction, and an increase in homelessness.

After crunching the numbers, the Perryman group concluded that cutting the mental health services in Texas actually had contributed to the budget deficit that the state now faces, rather than helping reduce it!

None of this surprises me because I have witnessed it on a personal level. When my son, Mike, was psychotic, he was arrested. He ended-up in costly emergency rooms. He was hospitalized.

Thankfully, a case manager in a jail diversion program took charge of his case. She got him into an apartment, into treatment, and eventually got him a job. Today, he is paying taxes and is in recovery.

Not everyone is as fortunate as my son, but I have seen people recover who once would have been considered “unrestorable” and locked in back hospital wards.

We must stop paying more and more each year for bigger jails, more prisons, endless hospital emergency visits and overnight stays in traditional homeless shelters. We need to use our sparse tax dollars to pay for evidence based programs that actually help people recover.

Please tell your state politicians about the Perryman report. Please tell them that recovery is possible. It is not only the moral thing to do, but now we know it is the financially smart thing to do."


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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:43 am

Yep, good ole Gov. Rick Perry. Unreal article and I believe every word of it living in TexAss.

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Post by Guest on Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:35 pm

Praying For Faith wrote:While reading the charges against a Knox County man accused of three murders, rape and kidnapping, Larry Maynard said his body shook as he considered the horrors his children experienced.

Maynard's son, 11-year-old Kody Maynard, was one of three people killed on Nov. 10, along with Kody's mother, 32-year-old Tina R. Herrmann, and family friend Stephanie L. Sprang, 41. Their dismembered bodies were found more than a week later in a hollow tree.

His 13-year-old daughter was found bound and gagged in the basement of the man held in the case, Matthew J. Hoffman, 30, of 49 Columbus Rd., in Clinton Township just south of downtown Mount Vernon. Prosecutors say she had been raped.

Hoffman, who is being held in lieu of a $1 million cash bond, was indicted on Monday by a Knox County grand jury on charges that include three counts of aggravated murder, rape and aggravated burglary, according to a release by county Prosecutor John Thatcher. Hoffman will be arraigned Thursday in Mount Vernon.

"I wake up every morning and think that it's going to be a bad dream," Maynard said yesterday. "Every day, it sinks in that it's a reality. This is life now ... People say things will get better in time, but I say to them, 'You've never lost a child.'"

I can't imagine what this father must be going through! Probably a lot of guilt for not being there to protect them. I'm not surprised to hear that the girl had been raped - at least she lived! She will need a lot of therapy, but at least she is with her father now. I am sure he will do his best to make sure she is kept safe from now on!!
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Post by Praying For Faith on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:24 pm

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Knox County man pleads guilty in dismemberment slayings

Matthew Hoffman sentenced to life in prison
Thursday, January 6, 2011 09:42 AM

By Allison Manning
The Columbus Dispatch

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Matthew Hoffman appeared emotionless this morning as he answered "yes" to acknowledge his guilty pleas in the horrific dismemberment slayings of a Knox County woman, her son and a family friend.

Hoffman pleaded guilty before a courtroom packed with relatives and friends of the victims and was sentenced by Knox County Common Pleas Court Judge Otho Eyster to concurrent terms of life in prison with no chance of parole.

Hoffman fatally stabbed Tina Herrmann, 32; her son Kody Maynard, 11; and family friend Stephanie Sprang, 41, in Herrmann's home in Apple Valley on Nov. 10 and then cut up their bodies.

Hoffman, 30, an unemployed tree trimmer, then scaled a tall beech tree in a wildlife area northwest of Mount Vernon and deposited garbage bags containing the dismembered remains of the victims in the hollow of the tree.

The remains were located with Hoffmann's assistance on Nov. 18, eight days after the victims - and a 13-year-old girl - disappeared, triggering a massive search of the countryside by officials and citizen volunteers.

Sprang's sister, Sherry Baxter, said in the courtroom that the family agreed with authorities to take a potential death penalty for Hoffman off the table in exchange for information on where the bodies could be found.

The 13-year-old girl was found bound and gagged, but alive, in the basement of Hoffman's home near downtown Mount Vernon on Nov. 14 when authorities stormed the house. Hoffman was charged with raping the girl.

In a statement read by Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher, the girl said: "This has changed my whole life and my family's life, too." In the statement, the teen related memories of the victims and said she's no longer scared of Hoffman.

"This is so sickening, Matthew, to know you even had the guts to do this to a family," she said in the statement.

Hoffman, who was being held in lieu of a $1 million cash bond, was indicted on Monday by a Knox County grand jury on charges that include three counts of aggravated murder, rape and aggravated burglary.

Thatcher said that the indictment did not contain death-penalty specifications in accordance with the wishes of the victims' families.

In addition to the murder charges, Hoffman was charged with aggravated burglary, rape, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

He received nine years each for his guilty pleas to burglary, kidnapping and rape, four years for tampering with evidence and 11 months for abuse of a corpse. The sentences will run concurrent with the life sentences for murder.

Hoffman appeared in court in blue scrubs with a dark prison jacket labeled "inmate worker." His hair was messy and he was unshaven.

"The family deserves to know this a random burglary that went terribly, terribly wrong," Bruce Malek, Hoffman's public defender, said following sentencing. Hoffman did not specifically target those he killed, Malek said. Prosecutor Thatcher agreed with Malek's assessment.

The break in the case that led to the discovery of the girl in Hoffman's home was a Walmart bag containing a tarp and trash bags that the killer left behind in Herrmann's home, Thatcher said after sentencing.

Using the bar code from the items at the store, investigators were able to locate the transaction involving their purchase and then match it to surveillance video of the man who bought the items. Video showed him driving away in a Toyota Yaris.

Investigators then ran a database search for all Yaris vehicles in the area, with Hoffman's name appearing among those driving the model. Since a deputy had spoken to him in the area where Herrmann's stolen pickup truck was found, he immediately became a prime suspect.

Authorities then obtained a search warrant, entered Hoffman's home, arrested him and freed the girl.

"For whatever reason, he chose to spare (the girl) and thank God he did," Thatcher said. Hoffman planned to set fire to the house where he stabbed and dismembered the victims, but did not go through with his plan, Thatcher said.

The prosecutor said authorities began negotiating with Hoffman and his lawyers on Nov. 17 on a potential deal. He agreed to disclose where the bodies were hidden and to plead guilty without a trial if he did not face the death penalty.

Family members of the victims agreed to the deal the next day and the bodies were found hidden in the hollow tree. Sheriff David Barber said they never would have been discovered without Hoffman's directions.



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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:34 am

Good. Now he can be sentenced and the tax payer's money doesn't have to be spent.

I think this dude wants to die.

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:56 am

Wrapitup wrote:Poor dude, all he has in jail are grits. No squirrels to munge on. Sarcasm
He is lucky he is even being fed....he should be starved to death. This case hauntingly reminds me of the case of Shasta and Dylan. There family had been watched, everyone murdered and the 2 children kidnapped. Just like Jessica Langford....her murderer watched her for awhile also. SICK SICK Monsters.
This poor girl, to have seen all of this horror, even her dog. Who the heck was the dog going to tell. IMHO he is one sick "you know what".
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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by laga on Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:43 pm

From article above
The break in the case that led to the discovery of the girl in Hoffman's home was a Walmart bag containing a tarp and trash bags that the killer left behind in Herrmann's home, Thatcher said after sentencing.

Using the bar code from the items at the store, investigators were able to locate the transaction involving their purchase and then match it to surveillance video of the man who bought the items. Video showed him driving away in a Toyota Yaris

I hate when police make excuses when they can't solve a crime quickly, find a missing person, make an arrest, etc. by saying "this isn't CSI". There is no reason it can't be like CSI. Good Work LE!!!!
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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:58 pm

Wrapitup wrote:Good. Now he can be sentenced and the tax payer's money doesn't have to be spent.

I think this dude wants to die.

Wrap, I thought I read, in the above post, that the family had taken the death penalty off the table (in exchange for him telling LE where the bodies were)... did I read that wrong? If so, I would definitely agree with you. His crimes were sick & disgusting - the death penalty would be the best sentence for him!
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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:01 pm

laga wrote:I hate when police make excuses when they can't solve a crime quickly, find a missing person, make an arrest, etc. by saying "this isn't CSI". There is no reason it can't be like CSI. Good Work LE!!!!

I agree, Laga. It is amazing how they managed to track him down through a receipt in a Walmart bag! I am sure that this quick detective work saved the girl's life. Bravo
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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Praying For Faith on Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:29 pm

Yes, the great detective work up there in the Mount Vernon area. Someone was really thinking to checkout that Walmart bag and it's contents. The barcodes led to the transaction receipt, the store camera let them see Hoffman getting into a Yaris. The the databases brought up all the owners of Yaris's in the area.

I was not aware that a deputy had talked to Hoffman, around the Kenyon College area, where he had ditched Hermann's truck. I bet he had just done that to still be in the area. Thank God that he did not follow through with setting fire to Tina Hermann's house where he committed this horrendous crime, like he had originally planned to do. They would have never been able to solve this crime. Matthew Hoffman really thought out and planned his steps after his crime at the Herman house. Hoffman chose to save the girl because she was a very pretty girl and obviously he raped her as that is one of the charges against him. I am thankful that he did tell that she was in his basement tied up though.

I doubt that Matthew Hoffman ever imagined that he could be traced from a simple Walmart bag and its contents. Bravo to the LE on this case.


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Normal Hoffman admits killings; grief, rage fill courtroom

Post by Praying For Faith on Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:17 am

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Hoffman admits killings; grief, rage fill courtroom
Friday, January 7, 2011 02:48 AM

By Allison Manning
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The thin, blond girl in the black dress sat stoically in the third row of the courtroom yesterday as her kidnapper, rapist and the killer of her mother, brother and neighbor pleaded guilty to the crimes that changed her life.

It's over for 30-year-old Matthew J. Hoffman, who will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. He pleaded guilty yesterday to 10 felonies in Knox County Common Pleas Court.

But for the family of the slain - 32-year-old Tina Herrmann, 11-year-old Kody Maynard and 41-year-old Stephanie Sprang - the nightmare goes on.

One by one, family members stood before Hoffman and told him of their grief, anger, sorrow and rage.

The 13-year-old girl's strong words were first, read by county Prosecutor John Thatcher. The Dispatch previously published the girl's name but is no longer identifying her, because she was sexually assaulted.

"I think Matthew purposely was trying to scare me and my family, but I'm not scared of you, Matthew," she wrote. "I'm going to stand up for myself and live my life.

"Matthew, I want you to know that you will never be forgiven by me."


Had Hoffman gone to trial, the girl would have been the prosecution's star witness, Thatcher told reporters and family members after the sentencing.

Sheriff David Barber, who called her his "little hero" after she was rescued from Hoffman's basement on Nov. 14, said he was both happy and surprised to see her in court.

An unshaven and shoeless Hoffman said nothing, other than "yes" or "no" in a deep monotone after each question from Judge Otho Eyster. Public defender Bruce Malek said on behalf of his client that Hoffman didn't single out the families, that it was a case of a burglary gone horribly wrong when Herrmann and Sprang confronted him.

"Apologies," Malek said on behalf of his client, to incredulous laughs from the courtroom audience.

Although the family consented to removing the death penalty if Hoffman would reveal the location of their loved ones' bodies - found dismembered and bagged in a hollow tree more than a week after they had disappeared - their rage at Hoffman was visceral. They threw expletives at him and spoke of the "jailhouse justice" and torture in the afterlife they hoped he receives.

Herrmann's brother, William Herrmann, clutched a baseball with Kody written on it and said that if the law allowed, he and his brothers would dismember the murderer alive.

"I speak for myself and many others as well, when I say, Matthew Hoffman, you should be struggling for your next breath of air," he said.

They spoke of the shattering of their lives.

"My heart is so heavy. My mind is blank," said Steve Thompson, Sprang's father. "My trust in everyone is shaken. I know my daughter is in peace, and I am glad that she doesn't have to see the change in all of us."

The girl listened to their words as she was tucked beside her broad-shouldered dad, who held a small, camouflage-covered Bible that had belonged to his son. When it was his turn to speak, Larry Maynard told of his children, both born prematurely, and the responsibility he felt for them.

"Matthew Hoffman, when you took my son from me by brutally stabbing him to death repeatedly and then cutting up his body like a piece of meat, a majority of me died with him," Maynard said. "I am very thankful my daughter lived from the wrath of your evil, but she will never be the bubbly, little, innocent girl she once was."

After the sentencing, Maynard said he felt both fear and rage in confronting his son's killer and daughter's kidnapper, calling Hoffman a coward. But his daughter, through her words, has risen to overcome her captor.

"She had to face the devil," Maynard said. "We can't let people like him know that victims will be scared."

Without the girl, Thatcher said, Hoffman most likely would never have been brought to justice.

Prosecutors said for the first time yesterday that Hoffman's intentions were to rob the 481 King Beach Dr. home in the Apple Valley subdivision, but Sprang and Herrmann confronted him. He killed them and the family dog, before the girl and Kody arrived home from school to find a puddle of blood in the doorway.

The girl said in her statement that she ran to her room to call police, but Hoffman got there first. It's unclear when she became separated from her brother. She asked what happened to her mother and brother, but Hoffman just told her, "Don't worry about it," she wrote.

Hoffman initially wanted to burn down the house to destroy evidence, Thatcher said. But for a reason only Hoffman knows, he decided to spend his time tying up the girl and taking her to his house near downtown Mount Vernon, where he forced her to perform oral sex once.

As a means of controlling her, Hoffman told the girl that there were other people helping him, leading her to demand in her statement that he give up his accomplices.

Investigators were able to identify Hoffman through what Barber called good, old-fashioned police work. A Walmart shopping bag containing a tarp and garbage bag found in the King Beach Drive home led to a video of someone driving away from the store in a Toyota Yaris.

Using state Bureau of Motor Vehicles records, investigators were able to look for all owners of a Yaris in Knox and surrounding counties. Hoffman's name popped up, and he officially became a suspect because he had been seen loitering around Herrmann's truck when it was found.

Four days after her disappearance, the girl was rescued from Hoffman's basement. The decisions to keep her alive and not to burn down the house are the reasons he was captured, Thatcher said.

"That is the only ray of sunshine in this whole horrible, tragic thing," Thatcher said after the sentencing.

With information Hoffman's attorneys provided on Nov. 18 in exchange for a guilty plea, confession and the removal of the death penalty, the bodies of the missing three, plus the family dog, were found in the hollow tree near Fredericktown in rural Knox County.

In addition to murder, Hoffman also pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, rape, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and three counts of abuse of a corpse.

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Post by Wrapitup on Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:12 am

A 13-year-old Ohio girl stared down the man who kidnapped and raped her as he pleaded guilty on Thursday to dismembering her mother, brother and a neighbor before stuffing their remains in a tree.

Matthew Hoffman will spend the rest of his life in prison after admitting to the November murders of Tina Herrmann, 32, her 11-year-old son Kody Maynard and Stephanie Sprang, 41.

The girl he raped sat in court and had the prosecutor read a statement to Hoffman.

"I'm not scared of you, Matthew," Knox County prosecutor John Thatcher read to the killer. "I'm going to stand up for myself and live my life."

The girl sat next to her father, Larry Maynard, who laced into Hoffman.

"Matthew Hoffman, when you took my son from me by brutally stabbing him to death repeatedly and then cutting up his body like a piece of meat, a majority of me died with him," Maynard said. "I am very thankful my daughter lived from the wrath of your evil, but she will never be the bubbly, little, innocent girl she once was."

Hoffman stood before the court scruffy and without shoes, uttering little more than "yes" or "no," the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Hoffman's attorney, Bruce Malek, said his client committed the crimes after a "random burglary that went terribly, terribly wrong."

Malek said Hoffman didn't speak in court because he couldn't face his victim without "breaking down."

Prosecutors said Hoffman broke into the girl's home Nov. 10. He killed Herrmann, Sprang and the family's dog after they confronted him. When the girl and her little brother came home from school, she tried to call police, but Hoffman stopped her.

It is unclear when Hoffman killed Kody, prosecutors said. He later chopped up his victims, put them into garbage bags and shoved them into a tree.

He kidnapped the girl and kept her bound and gagged in his basement for four days until she was rescued by police.

Hoffman previously spent six years in prison in Colorado for arson.

Since he pleaded guilty, Hoffman will not face the death penalty. Also part of his deal with prosecutors was that he told law enforcement where the severed bodies were, The Associated Press reported.

"He knew the families needed closure, that they deserved to have their families back and properly buried," Malek said.

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:00 am

It is all so tragic & senseless! I do admire the girl for speaking out, though & confronting him... letting him know that she wasn't scared of him. I'm also glad that she has her dad to rely on (and other relatives) - she will be needing lots of encouragment & support in the days & months ahead!!

As for Hoffman, he will be spending the rest of his life in prison - thinking about the evil things he has done. Even though he managed to escape the DP, he may end up getting killed in prison. Justice has a way of catching up! Whip
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Normal Another burglary linked to Hoffman

Post by Nama on Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:42 am

“I don’t remember everything that was taken,” Nussbaum told the News. “My golf clubs were taken. And some of my deer hunting stuff — my bow and my deer stand were taken. There were some personal items taken from the house, some silver and sports memorabilia.”

Nussbaum’s stolen property was recovered almost exactly a month later when the Knox County Sheriff’s Office raided the home of Matthew Hoffman on Columbus Road as part of the then Apple Valley missing persons investigation.

Although Hoffman was charged with aggravated burglary in Tina Herrmann’s residence at 481 King Beach Drive, the Nussbaum burglary was not included in the indictments.

“An additional F4 burglary charge did not seem necessary considering Hoffman’s life sentence and that the property stolen from Nussbaum was returned,” Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher told the News. “The focus of the case was on the Herrmann, Sprang and Maynard victims.”

According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, there is no indication Hoffman was involved in any other burglaries in the area.

“Can we say he was involved in any other burglaries?” said Capt. David Shaffer of the sheriff’s office. “No. Can we say he wasn’t involved in any other burglaries? No. We don’t have any evidence. There were no other (stolen) items found in Hoffman’s residence.”

The question of Hoffman’s possible involvement in other burglaries stems from a number of incidents in the Beam’s Lake area, south of Mount Vernon last August and September.

Several incidents were reported including those of someone pounding on residents’ doors in the middle of the night and several burglaries.

On Aug. 3, the car of Jason Hughes of Millstone Lane was broken into when an iPod and two cell phones were taken. On Aug. 5, his house was burglarized. Another iPod, a cell phone, a Wii entertainment system with games and a jar of coins were taken.

“I called the sheriff’s office before Christmastime after I had heard the Nussbaums had items found in his home,” said Jason’s wife, Samantha. “The short answer is no. They did not find any of our items in Hoffman’s house. There are a lot of similarities to what happened to the (Herrmann’s) house prior to the murders to what was happening in our neighborhood. And it is a bit troubling that there was an indication that there might have been somebody helping him. That there might be somebody still out there — and we live so close (to Hoffman). We’ll probably never know.”

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Normal Re: Hoffman pleads guilty to all charges in lieu of the DP in murders of Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody (daughter Sarah found alive), & her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang/ Hoffman covered his house in leaves

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:55 am

IMHO, he pawned the items Jason Hughes had. Did LE check the pawn shops? :scratch:

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Post by Nama on Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:22 pm

The confession of a Mount Vernon man who pleaded guilty last month to the slayings of three people and kidnapping a teenage girl was made public on Monday.
Matthew Hoffman promised to tell authorities every detail about how and he why committed the crimes, 10TV News reported.

Prosecutors told Hoffman that they would not seek the death penalty if he led them to the bodies of Tina Herrmann, 32; her son, Kody Maynard, 11; and family friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41.

The slayings occurred on Nov. 10 at Herrmann's King Beach Drive home.

Hoffman discussed how he broke inside Herrmann's King Beach Drive home on Nov. 10 and killed Herrmann and Sprang. Hoffman said that he killed them in a panic, as well as Maynard, when he came home from school.

"At this time, I was in a total state of shock," Hoffman said. "I wandered around (the) house, slowly coming to realization of what I had done and how bad it was. "During this time, I killed (Herrmann's) dog because it would not stop barking."

The three bodies were found on Nov. 18 inside a hollow tree at the Kokosing Nature Preserve near Fredericktown in rural Knox County.

Shortly after the slayings, Hoffman said that he drove to nearby Gambier, where he went to collect gas cans from his vehicle and use them to burn down Herrmann's house.

According to Hoffman, a sheriff's deputy almost immediately pulled up and asked for his driver's license and reason for being there. At that point, Hoffman said that he could not burn down Herrmann's house and returned to his home where he built a campfire outside his house, drank a bottle of wine and burned his shoes.

The bulk of the confession detailed the four days he spent with the 13-year-old girl who he kidnapped. It explained how he let her play Wii video games, how they watched Iron Man movies together, how he cooked her hamburgers and promised her that she would be home by Christmas.

When investigators broke down his door, they found the girl bound on a bed made of tree leaves and blankets in a corner of the home's basement. Hoffman went into great detail about how he chose the girl's home at random to burglarize.

"I did not enter the house to kill those people," Hoffman said. "I did not know a single one of them. I did not know their names and I did not know who all lived at the house. I chose the house to break into because there (were) not any close neighbors and I noticed the garage door was ajar."

On Jan. 6, Hoffman pleaded guilty to all charges against him on Thursday and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

He faced a total of 10 counts, including aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse, burglary, kidnapping and raping the teenage girl.

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