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Man pleads guilty to obstructing prosecution in connection to death of Chris Bagley

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 11:08 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The man who owned the trailer where Chris Bagley was stabbed to death in 2018 has pleaded guilty to obstructing prosecution.

Paul Hoff made the guilty plea Tuesday morning at the Linn County Courthouse. His felony abuse of a corpse charge in relation to the case was simultaneously dropped.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter said that Hoff’s willingness to cooperate by testifying against Drew Blahnik at his murder trial played a role in Hoff’s felony charge being dismissed.

During the trial, Hoff described witnessing the murder.

“His head was kind of forward, and he grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head up and then stabbed 4 times, 3,4 times, 5 times maybe to the neck right there,” Hoff told the jury in July.

Blahnik was convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing Bagley to death. His sentencing is scheduled for next month.

Another man involved in the murder has already been sentenced. Drew Wagner will spend 47 years behind bars. He held Bagley while Blahnik stabbed him numerous times. Bagley’s body was found more than two months later buried in Wagner’s yard.

Hoff appeared in person during Tuesday’s hearing and was all smiles after signing the plea. He thanked a couple of his loved ones for coming to the hearing. Bagley’s family was not in attendance. Slaughter told us the plea was something the family and prosecutors were comfortable with.

Hoff faces up to two years in prison for pleading guilty to obstructing prosecution, but could get credit for time already served. He will continue to serve federal prison time on separate charges.

This afternoon a loved one of Hoff’s sent us a statement from him. Hoff said, “I want to apologize to the Bagley family. Especially to his parents, siblings and most importantly to his wife and children for everything that happened to Chris. All the days that you spent waiting to find out what happened to him should not have taken that long to know. I cannot imagine how terrible it was to go through that. I am truly sorry I didn’t let you know immediately. It is a regret I will live with for the rest of my life. And I’m more sorry this happened to Chris, he was an amazing person. If I could change anything in my life it would be how that night turned out. This has made me a different person who looks at life a lot more clear. Please forgive me for my actions!”

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