The wife of a man accused of booby-trapping her truck with a pipe bomb in an attempt to kill her testified Wednesday about the day of the explosion and a confession during her hospital stay of an affair he was having with another woman.
“Kaboom. A very loud explosion” Connie Hoagland testified Wednesday. “My legs hurt, there was smoke filling up. My ears were ringing. It was so loud. And the screaming.”
Lawrence Gerald "Larry" Hoagland, 49, is charged with attempted murder in the Sept. 23, 2010 attack on his wife, Connie Hoagland. The explosion shook a Rancho San Diego neighborhood. Hoagland was arrested five days after the attack.
Connie Hoagland testified Wednesday that she left home early on Sept. 23 to take her son to school and then drove to her work, a daycare in Rancho San Diego.
“I remember the morning of that day, when I got in the car to take [my son] to school, I noticed a wire hanging from the dashboard. I just told [him], ‘oh, remind me to tell your dad about that later,” said Hoagland.
She says her husband called her around 4 p.m. that afternoon and something felt “weird.”
“He asked if I was leaving yet and I said, ‘yes, I’m leaving. I’m almost about to leave,’ and then he said ‘well I should be home about 5.30,” she testified. “It was just odd to me… because he rarely came home that early and I usually had to call him and ask ‘when are you going to be home?’”
When she went to leave work that day, she says her car was already unlocked.
“I thought wow, I know I locked that,” she testified. “I opened the door, threw my purse in and got in the truck, closed the door, put my key in the ignition, turned it over… and then kaboom!”
Connie says the pain was excruciating.
“I just thought, I got to get out of here and as I turned to look out the truck window, it was starting to move and then I just pushed it open and there was somebody there to catch me and lay me in the street at that time,” she testified.
As she lay there, she says her feet were extremely painful.
“I didn’t look at them. I felt like my toes were blown off,” she said. “Another dad who was in the daycare, he’s a policeman, I talked to him and asked him if my toes were still on my feet and he said ‘yes’.”
Connie was in hospital for 35 days. She suffered broken bones and burns.
“My tibia had a big old gash in it. Shrapnel in the feet… bones were put together, a lot of staples in my feet, they put a rod in my foot with screws and later I had surgery, they took a muscle from my stomach and placed it on the top of my left foot,” she testified.
During her hospital stay, Connie says it felt like her husband wasn’t there very often.
“Maybe at the foot of the bed. I was in and out of it too,” she said. “Once I remember he would bring in the iPad and kind of go over what people were saying, maybe people who were supporting. Not that many conversations.”
Then one day her daughter came into her room and handed her the phone. Her husband was at the other end.
“Larry said ‘I just want you to know, before it gets out, that I’ve been having an affair. And it was like ‘ding.’ And then he said, but I’ve been dedicated to you since Thursday, the day of the explosion, and then he said ‘I didn’t do it’ and I just remember hanging up and a lot of thoughts went through my mind at that time,” she said.
Connie says he didn’t tell her who the woman was, but she had an idea.
“A few years earlier we had talked about it, I had accused him of having an affair with this person and he denied it… He would throw it back in my face, ‘no!’ And I said, well what do you want to do? And he says ‘I’m not going anywhere’,” she testified.
Prosecutors say the couple had "financial stress" and "relationship issues."
Connies says the couple had started the bankruptcy process in January 2010, but it was not finalized. She says there was no talk of divorce or separation.
“We were together. Married. Just trying to push on, getting the kids going. Just living life,” she said.
Prosecutor Danielle Hickman says the defendant had visited websites on how to make a bomb before the attack.
Hoagland will face trial in November.
Hoagland pleaded not guilty at an arraignment last year. He’s charged with felony counts of attempted murder, explosion of a destructive device with intent to murder and explosion of a destructive device causing mayhem or great bodily injury. He faces life in prison if convicted.