Hoerig’s motion to suppress evidence denied

Defendant Claudia Hoerig scans the courtroom of Judge Andrew Logan as she is escorted to her seat in May before a hearing...by R. Michael Semple

WARREN — A judge has denied a motion to suppress evidence and statements in the aggravated murder trial of Claudia Hoerig, who is accused of fleeing the U.S. to her native country of Brazil after the March 2007 shooting death of Karl Hoerig, a major in the U.S. Air Force who was found dead inside the couple’s home in Newton Falls.

Attorneys for Hoerig argued that evidence found in a vehicle at the scene of the murder should be suppressed because it was found without a search warrant, but prosecutors argued Hoerig abandoned the vehicle when she left the country and the items found in the car — several guns and a duffel bag — were in plain view.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan found the motion without merit, according to a Thursday judgment entry.

Logan found Hoerig had no expectation of privacy in the vehicle, considering she fled the country and didn’t return for a decade, and only because her attempts to stay in Brazil were exhausted.

The defense also tried to suppress conversations Hoerig had with federal authorities in January on a plane ride from Brazil back to the U.S. after a lengthy extradition process.

Hoerig was not informed of her Miranda rights until she was in Trumbull County, but the escorts she was with were not questioning her, she was talking freely to them, so Miranda rights did not apply, Logan states.

Hoerig was “not subjected to any interrogation by the law enforcement officials escorting her from Brazil. Nevertheless, the defendant chose to voluntarily proffer conversation regarding the events,” Logan states in the judgment entry.

While traveling, Hoerig repeatedly told officers she had a story to tell, but they told her to wait for the right opportunity, the court document states. She told them the story anyway, later in the flight, the judgment states.

Hoerig also argued the search of the home she shared with Karl Hoerig was warrantless. Officers were there to check on Karl Hoerig, who failed to show up to work. The officer first tried knocking and ringing the bell, and then called Karl Hoerig’s family to the home who told the officer to go inside, where he found the pilot’s body.

Logan states the officer was reasonable to enter the home to check on Karl Hoerig’s welfare and did not overstep his authority.

A pre-trial is scheduled Thursday and a trial is set for Sept. 17. Logan also approved the removal of Matt Pentz as defense attorney from the case, because he is retiring from the public defenders’ office. Attorney John R. Cornely was added to the case to work alongside defense attorney David Rouzzo.

Karl Hoerig, 43, a commercial airline pilot and a major with the 910th Airlift Wing out of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, was shot in the back of his head.