Claudia Hoerig rejects plea deal - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Plea deal rejected

Claudia Hoerig rejects plea deal

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WARREN, Ohio -

Accused killer Claudia Hoerig rejects a plea deal offered by the prosecution.

Hoerig was back in a Trumbull County courtroom for an unexpected pretrial hearing in her upcoming aggravated murder trial.

Hoerig is accused of shooting and killing her husband -- Air Force Major Karl Hoerig back in 2007 at their Newton Falls Home and then fleeing to her native country of Brazil for nearly eleven years.

In a hearing that lasted about five minutes, Claudia Hoerig agreed to sign a speedy trial waiver that allows the September 17th trial date to be pushed back until January 14th of 2019.

One reason the additional time is needed to prepare for the trial is that one of Hoerig's public defenders retired and was replaced by another attorney from Columbus who needs time to get up to speed on the case.

Claudia Hoerig was also given an opportunity before the hearing to avoid going on trial for murder, but her attorney says she rejected a plea deal by the prosecution.

21 News Legal Consultant Matt Mangino says it's not unusual for Hoerig to be offered a plea deal since this is not a death penalty case.

"A conviction could certainly mean life in prison, so is there some agreement that can be reached between prosecutors and her attorneys that would maybe offer her some hope of release down the road," Attorney Mangino said.

Because there is a gag order in the case, the details of the plea offer were not made public.

21 News noticed that Chief Prosecutor Dennis Watkins asked the victim's family to step out of the courtroom for a private discussion shortly before court began.  That meeting may have been to make sure the family was okay with a plea agreement being offered in the case.

"A trial is a painful process for a victim's family to sit there and listen to graphic details of how their loved one was taken from them," Attorney Mangino said.

However, it appears for now that Hoerig wants to roll the dice with a jury trial.

Attorney Mangino said other plea offers can be made all the way up to and even during trial, "Often times pleas can be drawn up and accepted on the courthouse steps as you're about to pick a jury, or in the midst of picking a jury."
A final pretrial is set for December 13th.

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