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Published: Wednesday, 9/5/2012

Toledo man gets life, no parole for murder

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Saying that Scott Holzhauer’s fatal injuries “showed a rage almost beyond human,” a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge today accepted Brandon Hoffman’s plea to aggravated murder and then ordered him to prison for the rest of his life.

“The kind of damage you inflicted on Mr. Holzhauer is almost incomprehensible,” Judge James Jensen said after viewing photographs taken of the crime scene. “The injuries suggest you have a rage inside of you, an anger inside of you, that needs to be confined.”

More than a week after Judge Jensen ruled against suppressing evidence found when Hoffman was arrested for the Nov. 26 killing, the 29-year-old Toledo man pleaded no contest to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery. He was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole for the murder charge to run concurrent to 11 years in prison for aggravated robbery.

Assistant County Prosecutor Bruce Sorg said that Mr. Holzhauer’s bloodied body was found just before 11:30 p.m. in his Lorain Street home when police responded to a call of a possible suicide. After gaining entry into the home, police found Mr. Holzhauer laying face down in a pool of blood with a crowbar “embedded in his head,” Mr. Sorg said.

Mr. Holzhauer’s gun safe was found open and it appeared guns were missing as was his cell phone, Mr. Sorg added.

After speaking to neighbors, police developed Hoffman as a possible suspect and learned that he had outstanding warrants from Toledo Municipal Court.

Police went to Hoffman’s Chapin Street address where they arrested him. In the home, police found a .45-caliber handgun that belonged to the victim as well as Mr. Holzhauer’s cell phone. After obtaining a search warrant, police also confiscated bloody clothing and shoes, Mr. Sorg said.

The assistant prosecutor added that Mr. Holzhauer, 47, died of blunt force trauma resulting from at least 24 blows to the head.

Hoffman declined to comment prior to being sentenced.

The victim’s nephew, Matt Holzhauer, spoke before the sentencing about Mr. Holzhauer’s giving nature. He said that in the days before his murder, his uncle had attempted to find Hoffman some work.

“Scott Holzhauer chose to befriend individuals with little to no moral character, but he did not deserve to die the way he did. No one deserves to die in such a horrific way,” the victim’s nephew said in court. “Speaking on behalf of the family of Scott Holzhauer and all of the citizens of Lucas County, I hope this court never allows Brandon Hoffman the opportunity to commit another sadistic crime and put another family through the grief he has put my family through.”

Hoffman’s attorney, David Klucas, declined to comment prior to the sentencing but noted after that Hoffman plans to appeal an earlier decision by Judge Jensen denying a motion to suppress evidence collected during Hoffman’s arrest.

Mr. Klucas had argued in a motion that the misdemeanor warrant initially used to arrest Hoffman was invalid and therefore the evidence collected during his arrest should be excluded.

Specifically, Mr. Klucas argued that no one found any probable cause of a crime before an unrelated theft warrant was issued in Toledo Municipal Court.

Although the judge agreed that the process used in the municipal court clerk’s office was flawed, he denied the motion stating that officers’ conduct “was not wrongful” because they were acting in compliance with legal precedence.

Judge Jensen appointed Mr. Klucas to handled Hoffman’s appeal at the request of the defense.

Mr. Holzhauer’s family, who gathered outside the courtroom to share hugs and tears, declined further comment after the hearing.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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