Rep. Boccieri: "Delayed Justice May Be On The Horizon For My Friend"
Brazilian Supreme Court issues ruling potentially clearing way for U.S. officials to extradite Claudia Hoerig

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today expressed heartfelt relief that justice may be on the horizon for the Hoerig family after the Brazilian Supreme Court cleared the way for Claudia Hoerig, who allegedly fatally shot U.S. Air Force Reserve pilot Major Karl D. Hoerig in 2007, to be extradited to the U.S. for trial.

After Major Hoerig’s murder on March 15, 2007, Ms. Hoerig fled to her native country of Brazil where she avoided extradition for almost a decade due to a provision in the Brazilian constitution. Then-U.S. Congressman Boccieri and U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan led exhaustive efforts to extradite Ms. Hoerig in the 111th Congress, working with State Department officials and passing language in the foreign relations bill that admonished the Brazilian government for harboring a known fugitive.

HR 2410, The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, called on the Brazilian government to extradite Ms. Hoerig, who was wanted in the U.S. for murder. Since that time, Congressman Ryan and Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins were what Rep. Boccieri deemed “unbreakable” in their pursuit of justice and efforts to continue the fight with resolutions and federal legislation to make this day happen.

“We miss our friend at the Youngstown Air Force Reserve base,” said Boccieri. “He was a great pilot and a great person who served others with a heart as big as Ohio. Karl’s dad asked me to fight as hard as I could to bring Claudia to court so he could simply ask her why she would take the life of a person who devoted his life to serving others.”

Rep. Boccieri also acknowledged Congressman Ryan’s work on the issue. “We owe a great deal of gratitude to Congressman Ryan for his herculean effort in the U.S. House,” said Boccieri. “He continued the fight, got appropriation bills passed, kept in contact with the family and pressed every executive agency to make this possible.” 

Ms. Hoerig’s extradition request was pending before the Superior Tribunal of Justice, the highest appellate court in Brazil for non-constitutional questions of federal law, as well as the Supremo Tribunal Federal, which is the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Major Hoerig is a decorated combat veteran who flew with the 773rd Airlift Squadron. Rep. Boccieri served with him at the 910 Airlift Wing, where they flew many missions together. Major Hoerig was also a personal friend of Rep. Boccieri.

Rep. Boccieri presently serves as the 757 Airlift Squadron Commander at the Youngstown Air Force Reserve Base in Vienna.

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