Public Safety

Man charged in Chris Bagley's fatal stabbing receives less federal time due to judge's sentencing mistake

His sentenced time went from 18 to 14 years

Investigators, including the state medical examiner, work the scene in connection to Chris Bagley’s death at 4069 Soutter Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Investigators, including the state medical examiner, work the scene in connection to Chris Bagley’s death at 4069 Soutter Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge miscalculated a federal prison sentence for a Cedar Rapids man, charged in the fatal stabbing of Chris Bagley, on firearm and drug charges, which decreased his term to 14 years.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams granted the altered sentence Wednesday for Paul Hoff, 40, whom he called a “dangerous and out-of-control person” at his sentencing Nov. 21. Hoff’s lawyer pointed out Williams’ mistake in a motion filed Nov. 22.

Williams granted the motion and cut the 18- year sentence to 14 years. He apparently double counted or miscounted an enhancement that qualified Hoff as a career offender.

Hoff pleaded guilty in June to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He admitted to having meth and a 9 mm handgun and a Ruger GP-100 revolver on Feb. 18. He also admitted to distributing meth to another person and possessing the guns while distributing the drugs.

During last week’s sentencing, Williams pointed out Hoff had 16 convictions as an adult, many of them violent in nature involving the assault of law enforcement and other people. The judge also noted Hoff’s former membership in the Aryan Brotherhood, a neo-Nazi group active in prisons.

Hoff, while in an Oklahoma prison on drug charges, assaulted two inmates, Williams noted. Last year, Hoff beat up a man during a burglary.

Previous convictions, Williams said, had not deterred Hoff’s criminal conduct.

During sentencing, Hoff apologized to the Bagley family, who were in the courtroom, for not coming forward sooner with information about the death of Chris Bagley, 31, of Walker.

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According to court documents and previous hearings, Bagley was killed Dec. 14, 2018, in Hoff’s mobile home in southeast Cedar Rapids.

Two men have been charged in the fatal stabbing — Drew Blahnik, 32, and Drew Wagner, 34.

Hoff also was charged with abuse of a corpse and obstruction of prosecution. He is accused of lying to police and covering up evidence in Bagley’s death.

Federal authorities, testifying during a previous hearing, said Bagley was killed during a fight over drug robberies of a convicted large-scale marijuana trafficker.

Wagner confronted Bagley about the robberies and the two started fighting, authorities said. Blahnik then stabbed Bagley, according to a criminal complaint.

Wagner and Blahnik buried Bagley in the yard where Wagner was living in southeast Cedar Rapids, a federal agent testified.

Authorities recovered Bagley’s body in March.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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