Prosecutors live up to deal with Brazil in Hoerig’s sentencing

Local News

Trumbull County prosecutors are living up to a deal they made with authorities in Brazil with their sentencing recommendation for Claudia Heorig. 

In a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday, Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said they will be asking for life in prison with parole eligibility after 28 years. That includes a 25-year sentence with a 3-year mandatory firearm specification. The recommendation also calls for her to get credit for time served in Brazil from April 2016 to February 2018. 

Watkins did say in the filing that they intend to contest her parole for up to 30 years. 

The recommendations are part of a deal hammered out between the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office and the Appellate Court in Brazil. 

In the court filing, Watkins lays the details of Hoerig’s extradition and the bargaining that went on with officials in Brazil. After nearly a decade, a deal was made to bring her back to the U.S. to stand trial in Ohio. 

During those negotiations, Watkins communicated with Federal Appellate Prosecutor Vladimir Aras about Hoerig’s fate and what sentence she would face if convicted. 

Watkins assured Aras that the aggravated murder charge against Hoerig was not a death penalty case and the two agreed to a sentence of no more than 30 years. 

Watkins wrote in his correspondence: 

Here is what I can do in good conscience and serve the people of Ohio and my oath of office. If Brazil would extradite and release Claudia Hoerig to the United States authorities, I would, in writing and in motion, go to the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court and drop and not seek in this case life without parole sentence even if she would decide to assert her right to have a jury trial hear her case,” Watkins wrote. 

According to the court documents,  Hoerig was offered two plea deals before her trial but rejected both. Both deals included similar sentencing guidelines as those stated above. 

Watkins backed up his sentencing recommendation in the filing by saying that Heorig showed no remorse throughout the court proceedings, tried to delay the trial with frivolous filings and continued to change her story about the events that led up to the 2007 shooting death of her husband Karl Hoerig. 

Hoerig was found with multiple gunshot wounds inside the couple’s Newton Falls home. Claudia Hoerig cleaned out the couple’s bank accounts and flew to her native Brazil where she lived until she was bought back nearly 12 years later to stand trial in the United States.

The extradition was a joint effort between the United States Government, The Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office and authorities in Brazil. 

The case garnered international attention from media, lawmakers, and law scholars. 

Following an eight-day trial that ended on Jan. 24, a Trumbull County jury found Claudia Hoerig guilty of aggravated murder in the March 12, 2007 shooting death of her husband  Karl Hoerig. She will be formally sentenced Friday, February 8 at 10 a.m. 

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