BUCYRUS, Ohio – A defendant charged with killing four men at their homes in a small, north-central Ohio city would spend life in prison under a proposed plea deal, a prosecutor said.
Donald Hoffman's change of plea hearing is scheduled Wednesday. His potential death penalty case was set for trial next week in Bucyrus, where the bodies of the slain men were found beaten, strangled or both in September.
Hoffman, 41, had pleaded not guilty on 21 counts, including aggravated murder, robbery, assault and abuse of a corpse.
The plea agreement calls for Hoffman to plead guilty to aggravated murder charges and face four consecutive life sentences, Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew Crall told the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum (http://ohne.ws/1FQpYxn ). The remaining charges would be dropped.
Crall said the agreement has been discussed with the families of the victims.
"I think the biggest issue is a plea allows closure," Crall told the newspaper. "It severely limits any appeals."
Hoffman's attorneys haven't returned messages seeking comment.
Relatives of the slain men are expected to make statements at the hearing.
The victims ranged in age from 55 to 67, and friends and relatives said at least some of them knew Hoffman as poker or drinking buddies.
Two men were discovered dead Sept. 1. The other two bodies were found the next day after Hoffman approached officers with information, police said.
Investigators were reluctant to publicly discuss potential motives for the slayings. It was an unusually violent series of crimes in Bucyrus, a city of roughly 12,000 people where the prevalence of drug problems is no secret.
Information from: Telegraph-Forum, http://www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com