CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man, who lived in the mobile home where Christopher Bagley was fatally stabbed last December, pleaded Thursday to firearms and drug charges in federal court.
Paul Hoff, 40, is among several others not charged in the death of the 31-year-old Walker man, who went missing Dec. 12 from his home, but their charges stem from the fatal stabbing investigation.
Hoff pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He admitted to having the meth, and a 9 mm handgun and a Ruger GP-100 revolver on Feb. 18.
He also admitted to distributing the meth to another person and possessing the guns while distributing the drugs.
U.S. Magistrate Mark Roberts said Hoff faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and possibly up to life in federal prison. He also faces up to four years of supervised release on the distribution charge and five years on the firearms charge following his prison terms.
Hoff has previous convictions, according to court records, which could increase his prison time because those can be considered in federal court.
During an interview with authorities on Dec. 22, Hoff admitted Bagley was at his trailer on Dec. 14 with a woman, a search warrant, obtained by The Gazette, showed. He said Bagley and the woman were talking about “hitting” a drug house and “getting a good score.” Hoff said they were vague about where and when, and he decided not to go with them.
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Hoff said Bagley left between 7 and 7:30 a.m. He didn’t know who Bagley left with or what vehicle he got into when leaving, according to the warrant.
According to testimony from a federal agent at an April hearing, Drew Wagner, charged with drugs, was fighting with Bagley in Hoff’s trailer Dec. 14, and another man, Drew Blahnik, stabbed Bagley as Wagner pinned Bagley against a wall.
The agent testified during a detention hearing how Bagley may have been killed after stealing marijuana and other items months earlier from Andrew Shaw, 30, of Cedar Rapids, who authorities say is a large-scale marijuana trafficker. Shaw faces federal firearms charges.
During that hearing, Special Agent Michael Kitsmiller of the Federal Bureau of Investigation testified that Shaw reported Bagley and Hoff broke into his business Oct. 27 and stole an assault rifle, THC cartridges and a laptop, and then beat up Shaw.
Shaw later sent Bagley a text message, retrieved by his wife, Courtney Bagley, and given to authorities after he went missing, that said “People go missing every day” and warned Bagley not to threaten him.
Kitsmiller said Shaw denied putting out a “hit” on Bagley, as witnesses told authorities, but admitted he told others he wanted Bagley beaten for robbing his shop and other drug thefts.
Kitsmiller said Blahnik, 32, and Wagner confronted Bagley about robbing Shaw, who supplied drugs to all three, he said. Wagner then started fighting with Bagley, and Blahnik confessed to stabbing Bagley as Wagner held him against a wall, Kitsmiller said.
Wagner and Blahnik told authorities they thought Bagley had a gun, according to testimony.
Wagner and Blahnik loaded Bagley’s body into a vehicle after the stabbing and took him to Wagner’s house, 4069 Soutter Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids, where they buried his body, Kitsmiller testified.
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<URL destination="https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/public-safety/medical-examiner-soutter-avenue-south-east-linn-county-sheriff-cedar-rapids-investigation-20190301">Bagley’s body was recovered March 1 by authorities.
</URL>An autopsy showed Bagley died of “sharp-force injuries,” indicating a fatal stabbing by a knife or other sharp object.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden is reviewing the case investigation but hasn’t charged anyone yet for Bagley’s death.
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