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Prosecutor Watkins, others honored for work on Hoerig case

Staff report

WARREN — Marshal Peter Elliott, U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, recently honored law enforcement officials who spent a decade successfully bringing a Brazilian woman back from her native country to stand trial in Trumbull County and convicting her of the murder of her husband.

Those honored were Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, Det. Mike Yannucci of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Boldin and Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Chris Becker.

The award was for their investigating, extraditing and prosecuting Claudia Hoerig in the March 2007 murder of her husband, Air Force Maj. Karl Hoerig, in their Newton Falls home.

Claudia, 55, was sentenced in February for shooting her husband in the back of the head and fleeing to her native Brazil. But in April 2016, the Brazilian Supreme Court stripped Hoerig of her Brazilian citizenship, which allowed her to be returned to the United States in January 2018.

She was convicted at trial one year later.

Hoerig has numerous appeals pending in both Trumbull County and federal court. In the most recent appeal, filed in August, Michael Partlow argues Hoerig did not receive a fair trial.

Hoerig has tried to file appeals and other motions in state and federal courts since her 2018 return to the United States, but judges ordered clerks to stop filing her handwritten motions, which levied accusations of judge and prosecutorial misconduct and argued her extradition from Brazil was illegal.

Although Partlow’s appeal avoids the issue of her extradition and the extreme language Hoerig used to paint those on the other side of her case in a negative light, the documents accuse the judge and the prosecutor of being too cozy, according to the appeal.

Partlow states Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew D. Logan “abused his discretion” by allowing the state to repeatedly make arguments during opening statements. The court also repeatedly sided with prosecutors during the trial, Partlow argues.

“A review of the entire record in this matter reveals that nearly all defense objections were overruled and nearly all prosecution objections were sustained,” Partlow writes.

Hoerig was sentenced to 28 years in prison in February. The sentence holds to parameters set in negotiations between the U.S. and Brazilian government.

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