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Man charged in Anthem vandalism to stand trial

BY BRIAN HAYNES
Review-JournalThe man charged with chopping more than 600 trees in the Anthem community of Henderson was orderedTuesday to stand trial, despite his lawyer’s argument that the tree-cutting sprees would be far too much work for one person to carry out.

Douglas Raymond Hoffman, 59, faces 10 counts of malicious destruction of trees on land of another.

Seven of the counts are felonies. The other three are misdemeanors.

Authorities said Hoffman was responsible for a slew of tree-chopping sprees between October 2004 and November 2005 in the southern valley community of Anthem, where he lived. Prosecutors said he first cut down trees because they obscured the view from his house, then carried out the other sprees to create a diversion.

About 617 trees were damaged in the 10 incidents. The trees were worth about $246,000.

Henderson Justice of the Peace Rodney Burr ordered Hoffman to stand trial on the charges after a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Hoffman’s lawyer, James Dean Leavitt, said his client could not have been responsible for the vandalism. On some nights, more than 100 trees were cut.

“For them to suggest one person did this is ludicrous,” Leavitt said, adding that his client has had a hip replacement and is disabled.

Hoffman was arrested early Nov. 26 after a retired California sheriff’s deputy confronted him and found a saw. The retiree, William Edwards, said he confronted Hoffman after he observed him making a sawing motion next to a tree.

Hoffman was scheduled to appear June 5 for arraignment in District Court.