Kidnapping charge dropped as suspect takes plea deal

ST. GEORGE – A Washington City man originally charged with kidnapping a woman at knifepoint in June pleaded guilty to amended charges in court Wednesday.

Tyler James Hoffman, of Washington, Utah, booking photo posted June 3, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Tyler James Hoffman, of Washington, Utah, booking photo posted June 3, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Tyler James Hoffman, 24, pleaded guilty in 5th District Court to two third-degree felonies related to aggravated assault and aggravated assault of a peace officer. Each charge carries a potential zero-to-five-year prison term. Sentencing is set for Sept. 7.

An investigation into Hoffman’s background was ordered by the court that will also provide a sentencing recommendation.

Hoffman also faces a fugitive from justice charge related to a warrant out of Texas for “unauthorized use of a vehicle,” and he could be extradited there.

The original first-degree felony charge of aggravated kidnapping stems from a June 3 incident in which police responded to the report of a man who was potentially suicidal and having a psychiatric episode.

According to court documents, Hoffman had been with a female acquaintance in a car when they stopped by Vernon Worthen Park so she could put some water in the vehicle’s engine.

When Hoffman caught sight of officers in the area, he pulled a knife on the woman and told her to “Get in the f—— car and drive!”

The woman told officers in an interview that “she feared for her safety and didn’t feel she had a choice not to get in the vehicle and begin driving.”

Police were originally made aware of the incident through a third party the woman sent texts to that described Hoffman as “tripping out” and being suicidal.

The police followed the car Hoffman and the woman were in and got them to pull over on Main Street just north of 300 South.

Police deployed a TASER on a Washington City man who was subsequently charged with first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping after holding an individual at knifepoint, 200 S. Main Street, St. George, Utah, June 3, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News
Police deployed a TASER on a Washington City man who was subsequently charged with first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping after holding an individual at knifepoint, 200 S. Main Street, St. George, Utah, June 3, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

Once the car stopped, Hoffman got out and started walking away. Police told him he was under arrest and gave him multiple commands to stop. At one point he pulled out the knife and put it to his throat as he walked.

After refusing to comply with commands to stop and drop the knife, police used a stun gun on Hoffman to stop him. He was taken into custody without incident.

Though Hoffman’s case has been resolved with the guilty pleas, he still has to deal with the Texas warrant.

He has to remain in jail until Texas authorities decide whether or not to extradite him, or leave him in Utah’s custody.

The last time Hoffman was in Dallas, he was pulled over by police and made aware of the warrant before being let go, attorney Ed Flint said.

It is hoped by both the state and the defense that the warrant issue is resolved by the time Sept. 7 comes around.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • anybody home July 28, 2016 at 10:35 am

    “According to court documents, Hoffman had been with a female acquaintance in a car when they stopped by Vernon Worthen Park so she could put some water in the vehicle’s engine.”

    Funny. Most people put water in the vehicle’s radiator.

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