Families pack courtroom for hearing of man accused of murdering four people

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BUCYRUS, Ohio -- For the first time since his arrest, a man accused of murdering four people in Bucyrus appeared in court.

Donald Hoffman appeared via video at his arraignment Thursday morning in Bucyrus Municipal Court.  He faces four aggravated murder charges and bond is set at $10 million.

Members of the victims' families packed the courtroom to watch the hearing. Many were very distraught and can’t understand why the four were killed.

“He did not deserve this at all,” said Donna Hardymon, Freelin Hensley’s daughter.  “Our family is hurt. We are lost.”

Others said if Hoffman is convicted they hope he gets the death penalty.

The coroner said two of the victims-- ‎Gerald Smith and Freelin Hensley-- died of blunt force trauma to the head, and strangulation. Darrell Lewis died of strangulation, and Billy Jack Chatman died of blunt force trauma to the head.

While ‎‎Hoffman said very little in court, Bucyrus Police Chief David Koepke said he was very talkative when he came to the department earlier in the week.

“We did get a lot accomplished in the interviews to the extent that we are confident in seeking these four cases that were presented in court today,” Koepke said.

A few hours after the court hearing, there was another gathering; only this time it was for a different reason. A prayer vigil was held.

“We pray that in time, healing and forgiveness comes not only to the families of the victims but also to our entire community,” said Mayor Jeff Reser.

Read more on the investigation. 

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