Hoerig murder trial ready to proceed

Prospective juror interviews begin Monday

Tribune Chronicle / Renee Fox Claudia Hoerig, left, discusses something with her defense attorney, John Cornely, after her final pretrial hearing Thursday in the courtroom of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan.

WARREN — Defense attorneys for Claudia Hoerig are asking a Trumbull County Common Pleas Court judge to limit the number of autopsy photographs shown of the man she is accused of shooting to death when her trial begins Monday, more than a decade after the homicide.

“While some autopsy and crime scene photographs might be necessary for the state to prove the charges against Mrs. Hoerig, the admission of all 64 autopsy photographs and the numerous crime scene photographs is not necessary. All that admission of the 64 autopsy and the numerous crime scene photographs will do is cause needless consumption of time and cause embarrassment to the family of Mr. Hoerig,” wrote John Cornely, assistant state public defender, in a motion.

At the final pretrial hearing in Judge Andrew D. Logan’s court, Trumbull County assistant prosecutor Chris Becker said prosecutors have cut back the number of photographs they plan to show jurors to 10 or 11.

Prosecutors also informed Hoerig’s attorneys they do not plan to call a witness they were concerned about — an ex-husband of Hoerig.

Hoerig, charged with aggravated murder with a firearm specification, is accused of killing Air Force Reserve Maj. Karl Hoerig in 2007 at the married couple’s Newton Falls home. She has been back in the United States for about a year, after a lengthy and testy extradition process. It is the first time the Brazilian government has ever extradited a citizen of the country to the United States, Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins has said. A native of Brazil, Hoerig used Karl Hoerig’s status as an airline pilot to fly there.

It took years, media reports and numerous interventions at different levels of government before Brazil allowed the extradition.

A few alternates and 12 jury members are expected to be selected from a pool of 45 people called to jury duty for the case. The process will begin Monday, with open interviews of the potential jurors in the courtroom, followed by individual interviews with the judge. The jurors are expected to be questioned about their previous exposure to details about the case.

The trial is expected to pick up Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning because of other hearings Logan is scheduled to preside over Tuesday morning. After a jury is seated, they will go view the crime scene before opening arguments are made.

More than 20 witnesses are listed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court records.

Hoerig turned down a plea deal in September. The details of the deal are unknown because a gag order is in place.

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