Woman accused in 2007 Trumbull County murder of husband pleads not guilty, held on $10 million bond

Karl Hoerig (Source: CBS News/Frances Hoerig)
Karl Hoerig (Source: CBS News/Frances Hoerig)

TRUMBULL COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - The fugitive wife who was arrested in Brazil and brought back to Ohio for the 2007 murder of her husband in Newton Falls made her first court appearance Friday morning.

Claudia C. Hoerig was arraigned on an aggravated murder charge after she was extradited back to a Trumbull County jail this week from Brazil.

During Friday's arraignment, Claudia pleaded not guilty. The judge ordered a $10 million bond for her.

The Trumbull County prosecutor said Claudia was returned to Trumbull County pursuant to an extradition treaty between the United States and Brazil for the March 12, 2007 murder of her husband Karl Hoerig.

Karl, a decorated Air Force and commercial airline pilot, was discovered in his home by police with multiple gunshot wounds to his back and head.

According to a news release from the Trumbull County prosecutor, Claudia fled to Brazil on the day of her husband's death.

"It has been a long time coming for the family and friends of Major Karl Hoerig, but today, more than ten years later, they finally receive the justice they deserve," said U.S. Marshals agent Pete Elliott.

Karl's brother traveled to Brazil to meet with elected officials to pressure them to extradite Claudia back to the United States, but Brazilian law prevents the country's citizens from being extradited. The Trumbull County Prosecutor's Office proved that Claudia renounced her Brazilian citizenship when she signed documents to become a U.S. citizen.

Ohio State Representative John Boccieri, who served with Karl at the Air Force Reserve Base in Youngstown, shared a message on Facebook after hearing the news of Claudia's extradition to Trumbull County.

"Justice served...after receiving a call from the US Marshal this evening that Claudia Hoerig is in custody in America—words can't capture the relief I feel for the Hoerig family & Karl's friends. The final chapter is being written. Thank you to Trumbull County Prosecuter Dennis Watkins, Congressman Tim Ryan, Congressman Bill Johnson and our State Legislative Delegation who kept this story alive. Truly it was Karl's brother Paul, who visited Brazil during our 48hrs Interview, that put a face to this case & brought about Brazil's movement."

The murder investigation was recently featured on a CBS episode of "48 Hours."

According to the "48 Hours" investigation, Karl and Claudia were married for two years prior to the murder. Karl met Claudia, a former English teacher and accountant, on an internet dating site.

Those who were close to Karl said their relationship was troubled from the start.

"He could see that she was basically dragging him down," Karl's brother Paul told CBS News.

Karl and his first wife, Rhonda, had two children together. His daughter Eva said she found out that she was pregnant months before her father's death, and Karl was excited to be a grandfather.

Claudia's next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 6.

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