Due to the lack of sources detailing him, not much information about Hoffman’s early life has been revealed, other than that he was born sometime in 1980. It also appears that an event in his life shaped him into a psychopath. Neighbors later described his behavior as erratic and strange. According to one of them, he would kill squirrels and eat them. Others say he also used to trap small animals in his yard, set small fires on the lawn and sit in his trees. When his home was searched after his arrest, he also turned out to have had an obsession with leaves, keeping huge piles of them in his house.
In 2001, he was convicted of theft, burglary, and first-degree arson after he set a Steamboat Springs, Colorado condominium complex ablaze to cover up a burglary and robbery. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. On November 10, 2010, he randomly selected the Apple Valley, Ohio house of Tina Herrmann because it was more secluded and the garage door was always left slightly open. Hoffman bade his time, sleeping in the nearby woods.
Finally, he sneaked into the home after the residents left, remaining inside for an hour until Tina and neighbor Stephanie Sprang unexpectedly returned. Surprised, Hoffman murdered both, and then attacked Tina’s two children, 13-year-old Sarah and 11-year-old Kody, when they stumbled upon the scene. He also killed a dog that was in the house because it barked loudly. He later claimed that he hadn’t planned to kill anyone but had brought the knife and blackjack he used for intimidation purposes. Killing Kody, Hoffman then held Sarah captive and took her and the bodies to his Mount Vernon home, tying Sarah to a bed of leaves in the basement. Next, he dismembered the bodies of his fatal victims, taking and disposing the parts the next day into a hollow, 60-foot tree in the Kokosing Wildlife Area using his tree-climbing equipment. That same day, he was approached by deputies as he sat in the same parking lot where Tina Herrmann’s pickup truck was discovered. However, Hoffman was let go when he claimed that he had a girlfriend and was waiting for him to get off of work. For four days straight, he kept Sarah tied to that bed and sexually assaulted her repeatedly.
Investigating authorities eventually classified Hoffman as a suspect of the Herrmann home invasion and abductions, raiding his home on November 14 as he slept on his couch; he was arrested and Sarah was safely recovered from the basement. In his incarceration, Hoffman wrote a four-page confession letter about his crimes and revealed the location of his victims’ bodies to police. He also made claims that he intended to rob Tina Herrmann’s house, was happy when Sarah was rescued by authorities, and treated her nicely, cooking her hamburgers and letting her play video games and watch movies, specifically Iron Man and Iron Man 2. The latter claim was proven false by Sarah and was also greeted with horrified shock from the general public. As for his initial motivation to rob the Herrmann house, it is disbelieved by Sarah’s father Larry, and it is widely believed that the crimes were mere acts of random violence. He was charged with ten counts that included aggravated murder and rape, eventually found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on January 6, 2011. He had been able to avoid the death penalty by revealing where the bodies of his victims were located. Hoffman remains incarcerated to this day.
Hoffman killed his victims by stabbing them in the chest and back with a knife he brought along during the home invasion; Tina Herrmann was also struck with a blackjack. Afterwards, he dismembered the bodies and placed the parts inside a hollow tree in a wildlife area. When he kept Sarah Maynard captive, he tied her to a bed of leaves in his basement and continuously sexually assaulted her.