LOGAN COUNTY – Whether Evan Hoffman will be charged for Sunday’s shooting death of 16-year-old Branden Doseck has yet to be determined, but he will spend the next six months in jail for hosting the party at which Hoffman shot and killed the Jackson Center teenager.
Hoffman was arraigned before Bellefontaine Municipal Court Judge Ann E. Beck on Tuesday on seven misdemeanor counts of furnishing alcohol to underage teens. The charges were in connection with the under-aged drinking party hosted by Hoffman’s at his Bloomfield Township house in the overnight hours of Dec. 26-27. After the judge advised Hoffman of his rights, including those under the Fifth Amendment and his right to counsel, Hoffman instantly waived those protections and pleaded guilty to all seven counts. Immediate guilty pleas during municipal court arraignments, especially ones involving a number of charges, are uncommon.
After Hoffman pleaded guilty, the judge noted that the officer’s report states Hoffman admitted to hosting the underage drinking parties at the 6089 County Road address for profit. In another unusual exchange with the court, Hoffman tried to justify his event-planning activities with the judge, telling the court, in essence, that he was providing a needed service, one he used to pay his bills as he was without a job.
The judge flatly rejected Hoffman’s rationalizations and immediately handed down the maximum consecutive sentence of three-and-a-half years in jail with $7,000 in fines. She then suspended all but six months of the jail sentence and $3,150 of the fines, reserving the power to impose the balance of the sentence should Hoffman incur further criminal charges in the next two years.
The shooting death of Doseck by Hoffman at the party was not addressed in Bellefontaine Municipal Court on Tuesday as no such charges had been filed. The Logan County Prosecutor’s Office announced the facts surrounding the shooting would be presented to a grand jury, with the possibility that it may be presented as a case of justifiable homicide.
Tom Stephens is a contributor to this newspaper.