School Closings And Delays

Third-Degree Murder Conviction of Grandmother Thrown Out

POTTSVILLE -- A woman who had been facing charges in the death of her granddaughter will go to jail, but the most serious charge against her has been thrown out.

A Schuylkill County judge explained on Wednesday why he threw out a third-degree murder conviction and instead sentenced that grandmother to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Tears fell down Pietrina Hoffman's face after the judge sentenced her to five to 12 years behind bars, but she was facing a lot more time if that judge hadn't thrown out her third-degree murder conviction.

Hoffman was sentenced for involuntary manslaughter in the death of her granddaughter, Nevaeh Doyle.

Judge William Baldwin told Hoffman that she was responsible for the death of the 14-month-old child, but he said prosecutors did not provide sufficient evidence to say she did it with malice, so that's why he ruled last week that her charges of third-murder and aggravated assault should be dropped

Hoffman had already been sentenced to 16 to 32 years for that third-degree murder conviction. That sentence has now been drastically lowered.

Back in 2016, the child was found dead on the floor of her home on West Centre Street in Mahanoy City.

The autopsy shows that she was smothered to death while in Hoffman's care.

Schuylkill County District Attorney Christine Holman tells Newswatch 16 she was surprised with the ruling.

"The sentence, as I read it is 69 to 144 months, so you're looking at five years, 9 months for the death of a 14-month-old child," Holman said.

"The jury had questions, but those questions were answered, and the jurors came back with a verdict of guilty on all counts except for one paraphernalia charge, so to say the least, the Commonwealth is very disappointed," Holman added.

Hoffman now faces five to 12 years behind bars.

The district attorney's office plans to appeal this ruling within the next few days.

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