Investigators take stand in Hoerig trial to discuss conversations on flight back to US

Local News

One year ago on Thursday — Day 4 of her trial — Claudia Hoerig was taken into United States custody in Brazil and flown back to Ohio. Inside the courtroom on Thursday afternoon, some of the testimony centered around that exchange and what happened on the roughly nine-hour flight.

The state continued calling witnesses in the case. Three more took the stand Thursday morning, bringing the total number called to eight, so far.

Both FBI Special Agent Anthony Sano and Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Boldin took the stand to tell the jurors how the U.S. received custody of Hoerig from authorities in Brazil. They also talked about conversations they had on the plane.

Sano said scattered throughout other conversations on the flight, Hoerig kept bringing up what happened. About six hours in, she made a statement to him on the plane.

“She made the comment, ‘Tony, let me tell you, a wife doesn’t kill her husband without having a good reason,'” he said. “Then she went on to tell us, without us prompting her, a story.”

Prosecutors also played the recorded interview with Det. Sgt. Mike Yannucci upon her arrival at the sheriff’s office. That video of her story runs more than two-and-a-half hours.

It’s in that recording where Hoerig says her then-husband, Air Force Major Karl Hoerig, got upset because she told him she was pregnant.

She then goes on to tell investigators that she told him she was going to kill herself and he told her to do it in the basement so she wouldn’t get blood on his paintings.

Well, what happened next? I got very angry and I shot him. If he hadn’t said that, he’d be alive and I’d be dead,” Hoerig said in the interview.

Earlier Thursday, some veterans from the American Legion showed their support outside the courthouse for Karl.

“We are here in support of our fallen comrade,” said Chuck Sayers, commander of the Howland American Legion Post 700.

Several veterans were holding signs supporting Karl, who they say is having his final battle inside the courtroom.

“Now, he has no voice. We want to make sure his voice… we want to make sure there’s justice served and that justice is done,” Sayers said.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave their opening statements. The jury also viewed the scene of the crime, a house in Newton Falls where Karl was found shot to death almost 12 years ago.

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