ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Valdez man who killed a pedestrian while driving drunk on April 8, 2018, entered a change of plea in Criminal Superior Court in Anchorage on Tuesday.
Ero Walli plead guilty to Murder in the 2nd Degree and Driving Under the Influence in Criminal Superior Court in Anchorage Tuesday. (KTUU)
31-year-old Chellsie Ruby Marie Hoffman was standing outside The Boardroom bar on Chitina Avenue in Valdez at 2:30 a.m. waiting for other people in her group to come outside, witnesses told Valdez Police officers. A friend told police that they had been out for a girls’ night.
Then, “out of nowhere,” a truck peeled out of the parking lot. A friend said Hoffman tried to move around the truck from where she was on the sidewalk when the truck hit her and stopped. The friend said she screamed at Ero Walli, who was driving, and threw her bag at the truck, when Walli drove the truck on top of Hoffman and stopped again, before driving away.
14 months after Hoffman’s tragic death, her family finally found peace when Walli entered his guilty plea Tuesday.
"It's been a long 14 months," Hoffman’s sister Tosha Curry said, after a long sigh.
Walli pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree, as well as Driving Under the Influence. Three charges were waived in the plea deal, including one count of Manslaughter, one count of Leaving an Accident without Assisting the Injured, and one count of Possession of a Weapon while Intoxicated.
The plea deal was made with the consent of the victim's family, according to the prosecuting attorney.
Entering a guilty plea means Walli waives his right to a trial by jury. The prosecution asked for a 20-year sentence with five suspended, and ten years probation.
Hoffman's family phoned in from a Valdez courtroom. Curry spoke with Channel 2 after the hearing.
“On behalf of my family, we're just very grateful to the community for the outpouring of love and support that we've received,” Curry said. “We're just very thankful that we were given an opportunity to reach an agreement that would be suitable for both sides."
Walli's sentencing is set for October 7th in Valdez.
KTUU’s Kortnie Horazdovsky contributed to this article.
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