Claudia Cristina Hoerig stands trial in Trumbull County, Ohio for the alleged 2007 murder of her husband, Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig. Authorities say she purchased a .357 Smith and & Wesson 5-shot revolver, killed him, and escaped the U.S. to her birth county of Brazil.
Hoerig is represented by public defenders, though her handwritten pro se filings marked the pre-trial process. She complained that her legal team and the judge weren’t addressing all the elements of the case, and argued that her extradition back to the United States involved the bribery of Brazilian officials, according to documents obtained by Law&Crime.
“There is no justice here in Ohio for me,” she wrote in a filing dated last December 4. “From the prosecutor, all the way to witnesses, judge, media, it is all the same. There is no law being respected.”
Trumbull County Common Peals Judge Andrew Logan ruled that the handwritten filings be stricken from the court record.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by Law&Crime, Hoerig purchased the Smith & Wesson on March 10, 2007 while her husband was out of town as a first officer for Southwest Airlines. She allegedly went to a firing range to test it out.
Sheriff’s investigators said she used the weapon to kill the victim. They found Karl Hoerig dead in his home on March 15 after his parents voiced concern that they couldn’t get in touch with him. He was found face down at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and had been covered with a bed comforter and a tarp. A medical examiner determined he had been shot in the head.
Where was Claudia Hoerig? Not in the United States. She took a March 12 flight from Pittsburgh to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, then apparently caught a flight from JFK Airport to Sao Paulo, Brazil, investigators said. She was extradited in 2018.
In a videotaped confession, she claimed her husband had been abusive. She said she purchased a gun to commit suicide, and only shot him after he told her to kill herself in the basement so she wouldn’t get blood on the art.
“If he hadn’t said that, I would be dead and he would be alive,” she said.
Karl’s family denies that he was abusive. Witness statements in the affidavit indicated that Claudia had a history of being an abuser. Karl Hoerig said that he and his wife were having marital problems, and that she had even fired a gun in the house, according to a Southwest captain who worked with him. He allegedly said that he was going to move out of the house on March 12, 2007, but he voiced concern about how she’d react.
Claudia Hoerig was previously married to a doctor, investigators said. This man claimed she was “physically and mentally” abusive during their marriage, and he accused her of being dishonest regarding their money. She had over 20 credit cards and used them with their joint bank account to wire money to a Brazil-based account, he said. The defendant divorced him when he confronted her about this, he claimed.
[Image via WKBN27 screengrab]