Indiana man arraigned on murder charges in Cynthia Hoffman's death
In front of news cameras, a packed courtroom, and family members of a murdered Anchorage teen, Darin Schilmiller appeared in state court to be arraigned Friday morning.
The 21-year-old from Indiana was extradited to Alaska to face murder charges in state court and child pornography charges in federal court. He's accused of orchestrating the murder of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman in early June and has been in the custody of the Anchorage Correctional Complex since Monday afternoon.
Timothy Hoffman, Cynthia's father, sat in the front row of the gallery clutching a large framed photo of his smiling daughter. He's been waiting for weeks to look into Schilmiller's eyes, and had to wait a few days longer to speak in his presence.
Schilmiller's first courtroom appearance in Alaska happened Wednesday, during an arraignment in federal court — where cameras are not allowed — but Timothy did not get an opportunity to address the court that day.
"That man has changed my entire life. [...] I know people are innocent until proven guilty. In my book, the man is already guilty," he told the judge Friday, when he was given the opportunity to make a statement.
According to a release from the Alaska Department of Law, Schilmiller allegedly recruited 18-year-old Denali Brehmer, offering to pay her $9 million or more to carry out the murder and send him videos and or photographs of the murder. Brehmer then recruited 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh, 19-year-old Caleb Leyland and two juveniles to help her plan and execute the murder. In exchange, the teenagers would all receive "a significant sum of money for their part."
CASE BACKGROUND: Interactive timeline: The murder of Cynthia Hoffman
Family members keep memories, photos, as well as pendants carrying Cynthia's ashes close to them to remember her.
While Schilmiller's alleged role in the crime did not involve his physical presence in Alaska, Timothy believes he is just as responsible as any of the other defendants in Cynthia's murder and wanted to make sure the man from Indiana saw his daughter's face.
"I wanted him to see the face of the girl that he had killed," said Timothy. "I wanted him to see how innocent she looks and she is. I want him to feel the pain I feel inside."
When asked what his daughter might think of how Timothy is reacting to her death, he responded, "She’d say, 'Get ‘em, Daddy.'"
"If I had my way, I’d like to be locked up in a room just with him and me," Timothy said. "The last one standing would come out. But I even have to keep that anger in, because there’s nothing I can do. [...] When she says, 'Get ‘em, Daddy,' I’m gonna be at every court appearance. I’m gonna be sure the judge does his job. I’m gonna hopefully make sure that they get the full sentence, because that boy needs to pay one way or another."
Timothy and his family know the road ahead of them is long, but Timothy says he's prepared to keep showing up and fighting for justice for his daughter.
"All’s I know is this ain’t over yet," he said, "and I’m gonna get ‘em. Every last one of ‘em."
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
RELATED NEWS COVERAGE: