MOUNT VERNON — On a large video screen in the Mount Vernon Municipal Court, alleged kidnapper Matthew J. Hoffman could be seen on live video feed participating in the proceedings from the Knox County Jail Tuesday afternoon as his bond was set at $1 million by Judge Paul Spurgeon.
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This bond was set without a 10 percent application after Knox County Prosecuting Attorney John Thatcher told the court he believed Hoffman presented a flight risk due to his lack of family ties in the community other than his mother and stepfather, his unemployment and the severe nature of the crime of which he is accused. He told the court he believed the home Hoffman owns on Columbus Road was purchased for him by Hoffman’s mother.
“The weight of evidence against the defendant; there’s no question as to his identity,” Thatcher said of the defendant, who sat with his attorney, Bruce Malek of the Knox County Public Defender’s Office.
Wearing a suicide (prevention) gown in a room equipped with a table and video equipment at the jail, Hoffman did not address the court.
Malek said while he agreed with much of what Thatcher had presented, he told the court Hoffman did not pose a significant flight risk. He said Hoffman had attended the Knox County Career Center and East Knox schools, that he did have seasonal employment as a tree trimmer, and that he owned a home in the county.
Adding that his sister and father live in northeast Ohio, Malek asked the court to set a lower bond.
“He does have connections in Knox County,” Malek said.
He said the defendant is “currently without funds” and asked that a “minimal bond with 10 percent application” be set for Hoffman.
Spurgeon followed the prosecutor’s recommendation setting the high bond. The judge set the preliminary hearing date for Hoffman for Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 2:30 p.m. Hoffman will have the opportunity to enter a plea at that time.
Thatcher told the News he was not able to comment on the case at this time.