Ohio Parole Board gets Hoerig letter

Prosecutor honors agreement with Brazil

WARREN — Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins has fulfilled a promise to the country of Brazil, one of several he made to complete the extradition of the now-convicted killer Claudia Hoerig.

In order for Brazil to agree to Hoerig’s extradition, Watkins had to promise the government of Brazil Hoerig would not be sentenced to death, would not incur more charges and would get credit for time served in a Brazilian prison where she was held from April 2016 until she was extradited to the Trumbull County Jail in January 2018 to face trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Watkins also had to promise his office would seek a prison sentence that would allow her to be paroled after 30 years, and that his office would support her release after 30 years.

She was sentenced in February to life in prison, with parole eligibility after 25 years, plus three years for a firearm specification. Her first parole hearing is scheduled in 2044.

The United States Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, asked Watkins to send a letter to the Ohio Parole Board to record the promises of the agreement.

“Since the United States government played an active and vital role in bringing defendant Hoerig back to Ohio to stand trial, in making sure that the extradition treaty between the United States and Brazil was enforced, this prosecutor is thankful and mindful of the importance to give respect — as well as duty and obligation — to federalism and recognizing the cooperative effort by both our national government and its contractual counterpart of the county of Brazil in making possible the return of a fugitive from justice for prosecution,” the Monday letter states.

“Further, as currently Ohio’s longest serving elected prosecuting attorney, it is a virtual certainty that I will not be serving the citizens of Trumbull County as prosecutor in 2044 when Hoerig first becomes eligible for parole. Because of the unique circumstances of this case, I am now writing this letter to the board early with my recommendation so that it is on record and legally binding on all my successors in office,” the letter states.

Watkins states he supports her parole in 2044, but, Watkins emphasized, at no point did he promise Brazil that Hoerig would be released at that time because only the Ohio Parole Board can make that decision.

Hoerig is expected to appeal her conviction. A deadline for her to file was extended to July 5, according to court records.

Hoerig was born in Brazil but became an American citizen. She left the country after Karl Hoerig died and before his body was discovered.

It took a jury just under three hours to convict Claudia Hoerig of aggravated murder with a firearm specification on Jan. 24, about six weeks shy of the 12-year anniversary of the death of U.S. Air Force Maj. Karl Hoerig, the woman’s husband of less than two years.

While the defense never denied Hoerig shot the pilot, with a guilty verdict of aggravated murder, the jury of 10 men and two women were convinced the accountant planned to murder the man she met on Match.com in April 2005, in his Newton Falls home on March 12, 2007.

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