Man Found Guilty Of Injuring Wife In Car-Bomb Attack

Larry Hoagland Faces Life In Prison For Pipe Bomb Attack On Wife, Connie

A Rancho San Diego man who seriously injured his wife by planting a pipe in her truck was convicted Monday of premeditated attempted murder and other charges.

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Lawrence "Larry" Hoagland, 50, faces life in prison when he is sentenced June 5 at the El Cajon Courthouse. He closed his eyes and slightly winced when the jury's foreperson read out the verdict.

Jurors deliberated parts of three days before reaching the verdict.

Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said 52-year-old Connie Hoagland suffered serious injuries to her feet on Sept. 23, 2010, when the 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.

The victim had no enemies, but she and her husband of 25 years were $80,000 in debt, upside-down on their home mortgage and had filed for bankruptcy, the prosecutor said.

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 same day the defendant took a trip to Pennsylvania -- a bomb wired to a cellphone 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.

"I mean this is serious stuff, very serious business," said Mechals.

When the defendant was arrested five days after the bombing that injured his wife, investigators found numbers for prepaid cell phones linked to the bomb that hadn't gone off, Mechals said.

"Going out, twice, and getting the pieces that he needed to put the bombs together, both of which were pretty sophisticated: One triggered by a cellphone and then the latter actually hooked into her car," said Mechals. "Very unique [case]. I mean, it's just crazy in a way, it's like, who does that?"

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.

The defendant was having an affair with a woman in Pennsylvania and planned to get a job there and leave San Diego quietly, Palmer said.

Palmer said the defendant didn't browse websites on how to make a bombs, as prosecutors outlined, but looked up the topic only once after watching a movie.

"Of course it doesn't take away from the tragedy of what happened and the pain that they are still suffering through," said Connie Hoagland's attorney Stephen Fitch.

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