Sheboygan County jury finds Grafton man guilty of kidnapping but not guilty of murder plot

·2 min read

Fulfilling our obligation: This report is part of the Sheboygan Press's mission to follow criminal cases from arrest to their conclusion.

SHEBOYGAN - A jury trial for a Grafton man charged with kidnapping a woman in her Waldo home wrapped up on Friday.

The Sheboygan County jury found Dean Hoffmann, 59, not guilty of the most serious charges against him: a conspiracy to murder the woman he kidnapped and solicitation of the murder from jail.

However, the jury did find Hoffmann guilty of kidnapping, suffocating, harming and intimidating the woman in September 2018.

The jury also found Hoffmann guilty of conspiring to intimidate the woman and soliciting someone to intimidate her in 2019.

Hoffmann pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to the 2018 offenses, but the jury found him mentally competent.

'I was afraid, deathly afraid,' victim told the jury

In September 2018 — about a month after the victim, who had been dating Hoffmann, broke off the relationship, and two days after the victim bought her own home in Waldo — Hoffmann walked into the woman's home and forcibly kept her there for five or six hours, she testified to the jury last week.

During that time, Hoffmann broke her nose by punching her in the face, tied her wrists and ankles together, put a rag in her mouth, and threatened to get a gun from his car and kill them both, the woman testified.

"I could fight all I want, but he's stronger," she said. "I was afraid, deathly afraid."

Sheriff's deputies arrested Hoffmann that evening after a pizza delivery driver saw her mouthing “help me” when he delivered an order to the address.

The following year, Hoffmann told a man housed with him in jail there was someone in his case whom he needed gone, the man told Sheboygan County sheriff's deputies in 2019.

Prosecutors showed the jury video and audio recordings of Hoffmann and the man talking in code, with the man (who was working with law enforcement) saying he could get bike parts for Hoffmann and Hoffmann responding he could pay for the parts later.

Hoffmann's attorney, John Schiro, argued the two were talking in code about getting someone to talk to the victim — not about killing her.

The jury found Hoffmann guilty of conspiracy to intimidate a witness but not guilty of conspiracy to kill her.

Hoffmann faces a sentence of up to 75 years in prison

Judge Rebecca Persick will sentence Hoffmann at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 30.

He could face a maximum of about 75 years in prison.

Reach Maya Hilty at 920-400-7485 or MHilty@sheboygan.gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @maya_hilty.

This article originally appeared on Sheboygan Press: Grafton man found guilty of kidnapping, not guilty of murder plot