EL CAJON (CNS) - A Rancho San Diego man accused of booby-trapping his wife's pickup truck with a pipe bomb that detonated, causing her to suffer serious injuries, researched bomb-making websites several weeks beforehand, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Lawrence "Larry" Hoagland, 50, faces life in prison if convicted of premeditated attempted murder and other felony counts stemming from the Sept. 23, 2010, attack on his wife, Connie.
Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals told jurors in his opening statement that the 52-year-old woman was injured when the bomb went off as she left work at a daycare center about 4:20 p.m.
The force of the explosion blew out windows in the victim's 2003 Ford truck and bent its roof upward, Mechals said.
Connie Hoagland had no enemies, but she and her husband of 25 years were $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 same 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 injured his wife, investigators found numbers for cell phones linked to both devices, Mechals said.
Deputy Public Defender Tom Palmer told the jury that his client will testify that he did not build a bomb, didn't design a bomb, and never meant to harm his wife.
"This is a 'who done it' case," the attorney said.
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.
The defense attorney said the bombs involved in the Sept. 8. 2010, and Sept. 23, 2010, incidents were different.
Palmer said the defendant didn't browse websites on how to make a bombs, but looked up the topic only once after watching a movie.