Judge Reduces Bail for Man Behind Threatening Text Messages

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WILKES-BARRE – A district magistrate in Luzerne County reduced the bail from $1 million to $10,000 for the man accused of sending a text message threatening to blow up two schools last week.

Investigators said William Hoffman, 41, intended to send a text message to his girlfriend’s teenage daughter, but misdialed and sent the message to a man in Kingston Township.

According to Wilkes-Barre police, Hoffman wrote that he was planning a shooting, as well as blowing up G.A.R. High School and Wyoming Valley West.

At a hearing using a video conference from the Luzerne County Jail, Hoffman agreed to waive his right to a preliminary hearing in exchange for his bail being reduced.

Family members said that Hoffman is a good man, that he owns a business in Luzerne and he would never hurt people.

Defense Attorney William Ruzzo believes the magistrate set the bail high because the incident happened one week after the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

"The judge was ultra-cautious, and I believe that the judge felt that the community may be in danger,” said Ruzzo. “I believe that the judge was satisfied today that it was a spur of the moment thing that happened and that Mr. Hoffman is not truly a danger to the community."

Family members paid ten% of the $10,000 bail for Hoffman’s release from jail Thursday afternoon.