The Connie Hoagland car bombing case
Posted 10 months ago
When a bomb went off under the bonnet of Connie Hoagland’s car in September 2010, police were stumped. A popular care worker, wife and mother, she didn’t seem to have an enemy in the world, until police started looking a little closer to home.
Smiling, Connie Hoagland, 52, jumped into her Ford pick-up truck, ready to head home from the residential care home where she worked.
The best part of her day.
Time to see her beloved photographer husband Larry, 48, and their kids – Jill, 24, Jaclyn, 20, and Jonathan, 15 – who all still lived at their San Diego home, along with Jill’s 3-year-old son.
They were such a happy, close-knit family.
But as she started the engine – BOOM!
The truck exploded.
Police and paramedics roared to the scene, where Connie lay in a pool of blood in the mangled truck.
She’d suffered terrible burns and cuts, had broken bones in her hand and both legs. Her left foot had literally been blown open.
But, incredibly, she’d survived.
As she was raced to hospital, officers broke the news to photographer Larry and the kids.
Distraught, they raced to Connie’s bedside.
They barely left her side as she battled through surgeries and transfusions.
Investigations revealed there’d been a pipe bomb attached to Connie’s truck, which had been remotely detonated to explode beneath her.
It wasn’t the first time police in that area had come across one of these.
Two weeks earlier, another pipe bomb had been found lying in the street, just three blocks from Connie and Larry’s home.
It had been duct-taped to a vehicle, presumably, but had dropped free.
Luckily, the bomb hadn’t exploded, as the wire leading to the mobile-phone activated trigger had come loose.
It meant officers could take it away for analysis.
Had that one been meant for Connie, too?
Maybe. Investigations revealed traces of duct-tape adhesive underneath Connie’s truck.
Her family were horrified.
Who could want to do something like this? Connie was loved by everyone…
Larry’s business partner wasn’t so sure.
He said he’d grown suspicious of Larry months before.
He said that Larry had been spending a lot of time in Pennsylvania since 2008 and had a picture of a dark-haired woman on their work computer – a woman who certainly wasn’t Connie.
He’d captioned it Pennsylvania Beauty and Perfect Woman.
Concerned, Jim reported his suspicions to the police.
And the police were certainly interested.
Four days after the bomb blast, Larry was arrested. He admitted the dark-haired beauty from Pennsylvania was his old high-school sweetheart Lee Ann Rupert. Since meeting again in 2008, they’d been having a passionate affair. Larry admitted all his business trips were just excuses to visit his lover.
That they’d planned to marry. He’d intended to break the news to Connie the day he left her for Lee Ann.
‘It sounds very cowardly, but that’s what I was going to do,’ he said.|
So, Larry was a love rat… but was he a would-be killer?
Larry phoned Connie in hospital, from police custody. He vehemently denied planting the bomb.
He told her all about the affair. Distraught, Connie started divorce proceedings. His children disowned him. Yet still he maintained his innocence. He’d only wanted to leave Connie, not kill her, he claimed.
But there were a couple of things that didn’t add up. Like the 22 Internet searches on how to make, and remotely detonate, bombs on Larry’s work computer. And two handwritten phone numbers in Larry’s wallet.
They were for the mobile phone attached to the first failed bomb – and for the phone that had rung it, 18 times!
Larry blamed it on a tramp he’d let park a caravan outside his photographic studio in return for keeping an eye on his office out of hours.
Said it was this tramp who’d given him the scribbled mobile phone numbers – connected to the first bombing attempt – in his wallet.
In May 2012, the case appeared before court in San Diego.
Prosecutors argued that Larry had panicked after Lee Ann had tried to end their relationship, saying he wasn’t trying hard enough to leave Connie.
They claimed he’d attempted to kill Connie instead of beginning a lengthy divorce.
Larry, in his defence, insisted he was innocent of anything beyond a selfish affair.
Now the jury had to decide.
Was cowardly Larry really a would-be killer?Like the Chat website? Subscribe to our magazine and you will be able to access our latest comprehensive content!
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