Triple-murder suspect accused of attacking jail guard

  • JOHN ALI HOFFMAN

A 51-year-old Puna man awaiting trial for allegedly shooting his wife and two children to death more than 2 1/2 years ago is accused of attacking a guard who tried to return him to his cell at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

An indictment, returned Nov. 14 by a Hilo grand jury, charges John Ali Hoffman with second-degree assault, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment upon conviction.

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According to the document, the alleged assault occurred on Nov. 16, 2017. The alleged victim is identified as Bryson H.K. Crivello.

A bench warrant issued with the indictment set bail on the assault charge at $10,000 and ordered Hoffman to not contact, threaten or harm Crivello.

Hawaii Police Department Maj. Samuel Thomas said Friday Hoffman “was resisting being returned to his cell when the assault occurred.” Thomas said Crivello was punched “and also sustained an additional minor injury.”

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said privacy laws prevent her from disclosing the extent of Crivello’s injuries or if he was forced to miss work because of the alleged attack.

In addition, Hoffman faces charges of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, illegally carrying a firearm and use of a firearm in the commission of separate felony for the May 6, 2016, slayings of his 40-year-old wife, Aracely Hoffman, their 10-year-old daughter, Clara Hoffman, and their 7-year-old son, John “Junior” Hoffman, in the family’s Leilani Estates home.

If convicted of the first-degree murder charge, Hoffman faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The second-degree murder charges carry a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Hoffman has exhibited bizarre behavior at court hearings, accused at least one judge of bias against him and demanded the judge recuse himself. On Aug. 14, 2017, Hoffman said in open court the same judge, another judge and a private attorney “have slaved me and my family for the benefit of another man.”

Hoffman was found fit to stand trial in February 2017, but has since undergone another round of mental examinations. The examiners’ reports, which are confidential, have been filed with the court, but on Nov. 16 Hoffman’s court-appointed lawyer, Stanton Oshiro, requested a postponement “to gain additional records which the doctors need to review.”

Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto granted Oshiro’s request and ordered Hoffman to return to court at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 15.

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Hoffman remains in custody at HCCC on $2.075 million bail on the murder and firearms charges.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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