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Fight Rages In Trenton to Keep Trooper Castellano “Killer” Off Murphy’s COVID-19 Early Release Plan

TRENTON, N.J. –  She made a false report to police after eluding police on a high-speed chase then sending officers on a wild goose chance that eventually led to the death of 29-year-old State Trooper Marc Castellano. Now, under Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 jail release program she’s being considered for early release.

 Assemblymen Sean Kean and Edward Thomson called for officials to reject plans to grant early release to the woman whose false report led to the death of a State Trooper from Howell.

The two lawmakers sponsored a 2018 law that named a section of Route 195 in honor of trooper Marc Castellano, who left behind a wife and two children.

“The fact that the state is considering releasing Diana Hoffman early is an insult to all of our dedicated law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each and every day,” said Kean (R-Monmouth).  “This public health crisis should not be used as an excuse to release this woman-or any other inmate–from paying their debt to society.”

Hoffman was placed on a referral list to be considered under Gov. Murphy’s executive order that allows certain inmates to be released early to combat the spread of Covid-19.  She was convicted in 2011 of creating a false public alarm and eluding police after a high-speed car chase.

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After police stopped her on the side of Route 195, Hoffman told them she was with an armed man, which prompted a search of the area.  Castellano, who was 29 year-old, was struck and killed by a passing motorist during the search.

“Just like we will never forget the sacrifice of Trooper Castellano, we cannot forget that Diana Hoffman’s lies resulted in the death of this incredible young man,” said Thomson.  “Granting her early release is a slap in the face to Marc Castellano’s family who suffered a devastating loss because of her selfish and irresponsible decisions.”

On June 2, 2010, Diana Hoffman eluded police in a high-speed chase in Burlington County. Four days later, on June 6, 2010, Diana Hoffman led police on another pursuit in Ocean County. Later that day, officers found and stopped her on I-95 in Howell. She told officers that she had been carjacked by a gunman who fled on foot into the woods in the area. As a result of her statements, a massive manhunt ensued. New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano was among the searchers for the alleged gunman when he was struck on the shoulder by a passing motorist. Trooper Castellano suffered catastrophic injuries that proved to be fatal. He died later that day. He was 29 years old and the married father of two pre-school aged children.

Diana Hoffman confessed to fabricating the story of the carjacking and alleged gunman. She pleaded guilty to eluding police and causing false public alarm which directly led to the death of Trooper Castellano. She later filed two appeals challenging her plea agreement which were both denied. Ms. Hoffman has been denied appeal twice, the most recent time being just LAST WEEK! One week after being denied an appeal for the second time, and three weeks after the 10th Anniversary of Trooper Castellano’s death, Diana Hoffman is 1 of 30 people chosen by Governor Phil Murphy for early release due to COVID-19.

“To say that this is a slap in the face to Marc’s family, the New Jersey State Police and law enforcement officers across the country and State is not an overstatement. In a time when law enforcement officers throughout the State and Country are under attack and relations among law enforcement officers and citizens are already strained, releasing a woman whose deliberate actions directly led to the death of a New Jersey State Trooper sends a wrong message about the value of law enforcement officers,” said Howell Police Chief Kudrick.

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Governor Murphy opposes Hoffman’s release, even though it is his executive order that makes her eligible.
“I have no sympathy for Ms. Hoffman,” the governor said. “She committed a heinous crime. That trooper … is a hero. He lost his life because of her. So I have zero sympathy.”
“Out of respect for the Trooper’s family and all the men and women across the state who risk their lives to protect citizens and enforce our laws, I hope the Governor will think twice about releasing this reckless felon from prison,” said New Jersey Senator Robert Singer. “The Administration should do the right thing and ensure she serves out the duration of her sentence.”
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