EL CAJON (CNS) - A Rancho San Diego man who tried to kill his wife of 25 years by placing a bomb in her truck was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.
Larry Hoagland, 50, will have to serve at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. He was convicted of premeditated attempted murder and weapons charges for trying to kill the mother of his three children, Connie, who suffered injuries to her feet in a Sept. 23, 2010, explosion. Judge Herbert Exarhos handled the sentencing.
Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said the 52-year-old woman was seriously injured when a bomb went off as she left work at a daycare center. The force of the 4:20 p.m. explosion blew out windows of the victim's 2003 Ford truck and bent its roof upward, he said.
"You had no sense of my strength," Connie Hoagland told her husband today. The fact that he built bombs to try to kill her was "despicable," she said.
Besides building two bombs, the victim said her husband poisoned her coffee and tried to smother her with a pillow as she slept.
"You tried to kill the mother of your children," Connie Hoagland said. "You tried to kill me. You disgust me. You had it all and you threw it away."
Connie Hoagland spent 42 days in the hospital and had several surgeries on her injured feet following the bomb attack.
Mechals said the Hoaglands were about $80,000 in debt and had filed for bankruptcy.
One of her husband's partners in a photography business suspected he was having an affair with a Pennsylvania woman from high school and noticed the defendant was looking for a job in that state, Mechals told the jury.
On Sept. 8, 2010 -- the day the defendant took a trip to Pennsylvania -- a bomb wired to a cell phone was found in the middle of the street near the Hoagland home on a road that the victim normally took, the prosecutor said. It did not go off.
When the defendant was arrested five days after the bombing that did injure his wife, investigators found numbers for prepaid cell phones linked to the bomb that hadn't gone off, Mechals said.
Jill Hoagland, 25, told her father that he had to live with his bad choices.
"You chose hell on earth," she said. "I exercise my divine right to wash my hands of you."
Another daughter, 22-year-old Jaclyn Reagan, said her father loved himself and hated others.
"He is no longer my father and I am no longer his daughter," Jaclyn said. "Larry's plan was to move out and never see us again. We are happier and safer without him."
Jonathan Hoagland, 16, said his father was willing to throw his family life away for a "hag" in Pennsylvania.
For his part, the defendant said the jury convicted an innocent man.
"I'm not a killer, your honor," the defendant told the judge. "The real who and why are still out there."
Deputy Public Defender Tom Palmer told the jury that his client did not build a bomb, didn't design a bomb and never meant to harm his wife.
Palmer said the defendant didn't browse websites on how to make a bombs, as prosecutors argued, but looked up the topic only once after watching a movie.