New Berlin man changed plea to no contest at hearing this month

Troy Hoffman was found guilty of killing Chad Bickler in Wind Lake in late 2019 after changing his plea to no contest in the murder charge against him.

Racine County Circuit Court Judge Robert Repischak handed down the guilty verdict to the charge of first-degree intentional homicide with use of a dangerous weapon during a plea hearing held Feb. 8, according to court records.

Troy Hoffman

In response to the no contest plea the court agreed to drop charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and mistreatment of an animal causing death. The charges, however, will be read into the court record.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 23. In the meantime Repischak ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

A jury trial in the case had been scheduled to begin Jan. 11, but it was canceled just days earlier after prosecutors announced that they had reached an agreement with Hoffman. Hoffman’s attorney had amended his client’s original not guilty plea to not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect last spring, according to court records.

Hoffman was found guilty of following his ex-girlfriend to a residence in the Town of Norway and shooting Bickler, 42, multiple times, according to the criminal complaint. Bickler, who had been dating Hoffman’s ex-girlfriend, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Franklin.

Hoffman, 41, was formally charged Dec. 30, 2019.

Last March, Hoffman’s attorney, Jonathan Carver Smith, raised questions regarding his client’s mental state and the judge ordered a competency exam, court records indicate. A competency hearing in the case was held May 4 and Smith was allowed to amend Hoffman’s plea to not guilty by mental disease or defect.

The court reviewed a psychiatrist’s competency report – which indicated Hoffman may suffer from a mental disease – during a hearing in June.

To read the complete version of this story and other court news see the Feb. 19 edition of the Waterford Post.