Brazilian magazine: U.S. promised punishment same as Brazil’s

By Ed Runyan


If Claudia Hoerig is convicted of aggravated murder in the 2007 killing of her husband, Karl, it’s still unclear what punishment she could face.

That is because Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins and Karl Hoerig’s brother, Paul, would not talk about reports in a Brazilian legal magazine saying U.S. officials promised Brazil that Claudia Hoerig’s punishment would not exceed 30 years in prison if convicted.

The office of U.S. Rep Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, who was very involved in the effort to get her returned to Trumbull County from Brazil to face trial, said the congressman was not involved in any such issue.

The Brazilian publication Consultor Juridico has reported there were “conditions” attached to the Brazilian Supreme Court’s decision to revoke Hoerig’s Brazilian citizenship and allow her to be returned to the United States one year ago.

A condition was that Hoerig, who was born in Brazil, not be sentenced to more time in prison than the maximum sentence allowed in Brazil of 30 years, Consultor Juridico said.

A Jan. 18, 2018, Consultor Juridico article said Tacio Muzzi, deputy director of Brazil’s Department of Asset Recovery and International Legal Cooperation, told the magazine the United States signed a “commitment” limiting her punishment.

Jeff Goodman, a Warren defense attorney not connected to the Hoerig case, told The Vindicator the charges Hoerig faces under normal circumstances carry the potential for a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole or life in prison with parole eligibility after 20, 25 or 30 years but not the death penalty.

When The Vindicator asked Watkins this week whether he or federal officials agreed to limit Hoerig’s punishment in the way the Brazilian magazine said, he would not comment.

“I refuse to answer any questions because [Claudia Hoerig] is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

Paul Hoerig, brother of Karl Hoerig, likewise declined to comment, saying he would not “talk about anything until sentencing.”

Michael Zetts, a spokesman for the congressman, said “If any of this would have happened, it would have been between prosecutor Watkins and the [Brazilian] authorities, and we wouldn’t have been involved.”