Sentencing is scheduled for December 7th.
Frederick, Md (KM). After almost three hours of deliberations on Wednesday afternoon, a Frederick County jury found Lloyd Harris, 54, guilty of the rape and murder of Stacy Lynn Hoffmaster, 15, nearly two decades ago. The panel convicted Harris of 1st-degree murder, 1st-degree rape and 3rd-degree sex offense.
“Obviously, we were just overjoyed with that outcome, and so was the family We’re just glad that this one was finally brought to justice,” says State’s Attorney Charlie Smith.
The victim in this case, Stacy Hoffmaster, was reported missing on October 1st, 1996. Her body was found on December 23rd of that year in a wooded area to the rear of Southern States on East South Street. Police at the time said she had been strangled.
In January , 2016, police located Harris in Kansas City, Missouri. He was extradited to Maryland on an indictment for 1st-degree murder, 1st-degree rape and 3rd-degree sex offense. His trial began last week.
Smith says it was probably the DNA evidence which help the State obtain a conviction in this case. “We retested the DNA. We had better odds, better results,” he says.
Along with that, Smith says the defendant made some statements when he was apprehended in Kansas City last year, and was interviewed by police detectives.. “Some of the statements during that conversation were ‘if I killed her, it was an accident.’ Statements such as that didn’t do him any good in the eyes of the jury,” he says.
Judge William Nicklas, who presided over the trial, ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for December 7th. Smith says the State is going to ask for life without the possibility of parole. “This is a heinous rape and murder of a 15-year-old. I don’t care what that says. He deserves every day in jail for the rest of his life. So that’s what we’re going to be requesting,” he says
For the conviction, Smith gives a lot of credit to his prosecutors. “I honestly can say that this is the biggest victory our office has had in the last decade,” he says. “You just don’t get an opportunity to try 20-year-old murders too frequently. With stale evidence, with lacking memories, it was an uphill battle but they fought it. and they were victorious. And again, Nanci Hamm, Colleen Swanson and Mike Moore all did a great job.”
In a statement, the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office also thanked the Frederick Police for their work on this case, especially Detectives Ed Kornacki and Jeff Hutchinson.
By Kevin McManus