EL CAJON (CNS) - A Rancho San Diego man who booby-trapped his wife's truck in an attempt to kill was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.
Larry Hoagland, 50, will have to serve at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. He was convicted of premeditated attempted murder and weapons charges in trying to kill his wife, Connie, who suffered injuries to her feet in a Sept. 23, 2010 explosion.
Judge Herbert Exarhos handled the sentencing.
Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said the 52-year-old woman was seriously injured when a 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 Hoaglands, married for 25 years, were about $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 day the defendant took a trip to Pennsylvania -- a bomb wired to a cell phone 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.
When the defendant was arrested five days after the bombing that did injure his wife, investigators found numbers for prepaid cell phones linked to the bomb that hadn't gone off, Mechals said.
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 bomb, as prosecutors argued, but looked up the topic only once after watching a movie.
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