Homicide

Suspect in 4 slayings in Ohio town set to change plea ahead of potential death penalty trial

  • Donald Hoffman, 41, stands between defense attorneys Robert Whitney, left, and Rolf Whitney as he pleads guilty to aggravated murder in a deal with prosecutors Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Bucyrus, Ohio. Hoffman, charged with killing four men last fall while on a cocaine binge, was sentenced to life in prison. (AP Photo/Kantele Franko)

    Donald Hoffman, 41, stands between defense attorneys Robert Whitney, left, and Rolf Whitney as he pleads guilty to aggravated murder in a deal with prosecutors Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Bucyrus, Ohio. Hoffman, charged with killing four men last fall while on a cocaine binge, was sentenced to life in prison. (AP Photo/Kantele Franko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Donna Hardymon, left, addresses the court with support from a victim advocate at a hearing  for Donald Hoffman, second from right, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 in Bucyrus, Ohio. Hoffman, who who was charged with killing Hardymon's father and three other men, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated murder in a plea deal. (AP Photo/Kantele Franko)

    Donna Hardymon, left, addresses the court with support from a victim advocate at a hearing for Donald Hoffman, second from right, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 in Bucyrus, Ohio. Hoffman, who who was charged with killing Hardymon's father and three other men, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated murder in a plea deal. (AP Photo/Kantele Franko)  (The Associated Press)

The suspect in the slayings of four men at their homes in the small, north-central Ohio city of Bucyrus (byoo-SY'-rus) is due in court to change his plea after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

The hearing comes days before Donald Hoffman's potential death penalty case was scheduled for trial in Crawford County. The 41-year-old Hoffman initially pleaded not guilty on 21 counts.

The county prosecutor tells the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum the plea agreement calls for Hoffman to plead guilty to aggravated murder charges and face four consecutive life sentences in exchange for the remaining charges being dropped.

Hoffman's attorneys haven't returned messages seeking comment.

A coroner determined the men found dead in early September were beaten, strangled or both. Friends and relatives said at least some of the men knew Hoffman.