By: Chelsie Firestone
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Bradley S. Gilbert, 22, of Montpelier stood in front of William County Common Pleas Judge JT Stelzer Wednesday, September 7, to hear his sentencing for his involvement in the death of Jonathan Hofner, 28, of Wauseon last October. Stelzer sentenced Gilbert to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.
Hofner’s body was found near the Moose Trail on October 26 after Gilbert had called 911 in Surry County, North Carolina and alerted them to his crime. Hofner had been reported missing in Fulton County on October 12.
The cause of Hofner’s death was determined to be two gunshot wounds to the back of the head. However, due to the state of decomposition, it would be November 4 before his body was positively identified.
Gilbert originally tried to use both assisted suicide and psychological defenses. However, the known psychological state of Hofner refuted the assisted suicide claim and a court ordered psychological claim refuted the Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personality) claim.
Williams County Prosecutor Katherine Zartman was also able to prove that Gilbert used Hofner’s credit cards to purchase lottery tickets at Circle K in Montpelier after the murder as well as was able to produce evidence that showed the likelihood that the murder was premeditated.
Jonathan Hofner has been described as a very loving and care free man who wanted to continue to build a relationship with his three year old son and who was working to put and keep his life on a positive track. He had become dedicated to helping others as much as he could.
Gilbert had been housed at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker while the case was pending in court. However, his sentence will be served through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Correction. With the inclusion of a weapons specification, Gilbert will first become eligible for parole at the age of 55.
Chelsie Firestone can be reached at