On the eve of a jury trial that could have resulted in a lifelong prison sentence, a Whitewater man accepted Wednesday a plea agreement on child pornography charges.
Michael B. Hoffer, now 60, pleaded guilty to four of 16 counts of possessing child porn, court records show.
Hoffer, who in 2000 was convicted of having sexual contact with a person under the age of 16, had been scheduled for a jury trial Monday in Walworth County Court.
Because of his earlier conviction, he automatically faced a sentence of life in prison without parole if the jury had found him guilty of the 17th charge he faced: sexual exploitation of a child by filming as a persistent repeater.
District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld said in an email Thursday that both parties agreed to recommend 20 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision.
At Hoffer’s final pretrial hearing July 5, his attorney, Melissa Frost, confirmed that they were rejecting the prosecution’s offer for a deal: pleading guilty to the one charge that meant life in prison.
The new deal was made official Wednesday, according to online court records.
On June 4, 2017, a woman met with Delavan police to tell them Hoffer’s phone had several pictures of a young child’s private parts, according to a criminal complaint.
Police found on the phone 31 pictures of a young child and one four-second video of the same child.
Hoffer’s sentencing hearing is set for 1:15 p.m. Monday, July 30.