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A ‘heinous slaying’: suspect in Minot fatal shooting held on $500K bond

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 4:21 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – A Minot judge ordered Wednesday that a woman charged with murder be held on a half-million-dollar bond, in what state prosecutors called a “heinous slaying” of a man over an apparent child custody dispute.

Prosecutors charged 24-year-old Heather Hoffman with a double-a-felony murder charge, in connection with the shooting death of 22-year-old Alexander Eckert.

Eckert was found with a fatal gunshot wound early Friday morning.

Police said Hoffman was arrested Tuesday afternoon on Minot Air Force Base.

At an initial court appearance Wednesday, state prosecutors asked the judge to hold Hoffman on a $1 million bond, citing the nature of the crime, and saying she posed a flight risk due to reports of her trying to buy airline tickets for her and a child.

In a criminal affidavit filed Wednesday, investigators said Hoffman initially lied about purchasing a gun at a gun show.

Hoffman’s defense attorney called for a $100,000 bond, referencing the bond set recently against the person charged in the Anita Knutson case.

Ryan Sandberg, attorney for Heather Hoffman: “I think this is consistent with the latest case that came up with, the latest bond case in the Knutson murder. I think that was the bond, your honor.”

Judge Douglas Mattson: “That wasn’t me.”

Sandberg: “What I’m saying is that’s what the bond is in this area... that’s my request your honor.”

Mattson: “I understand.”

The state countered this request by pointing out what they saw as major differences in the two cases.

“There are vast differences between that case and this one. That case was a 15-year cold case, where nothing else had happened in the interim between the date of that murder and the arrest 15 years later. Here we have an arrest that occurred less than 72 hours after the crime,” said Tiffany Sorgen, Assistant State’s Attorney.

Hoffman was taken back to jail after the hearing.

She’ll be arraigned June 9. She faces the chance of life in prison without parole if convicted.

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