A murder trial for a Burlingame man accused of beating his roommate to death in December 2011 is set to begin in San Mateo County Superior Court. Attorneys representing 65-year-old Lawrence Hoffman met with San Mateo County prosecutors Tuesday to discuss trial motions, and jury selection was expected to begin around April 10, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Hoffman has been charged with murdering his roommate Joe Consentino in the living room of the apartment they shared on Garden Drive on Dec. 5, 2011, Wagstaffe said.
Consentino’s body was discovered three days later after a friend of Hoffman’s told police that the defendant had confessed to the crime and fled to Southern California, Wagstaffe said. Hoffman allegedly claimed that Consentino had been demeaning and verbally provoking him during the three months the two lived together, prosecutors said. The 70-year-old victim was found covered in blankets with a five-inch hole in the back of his skull, Wagstaffe said.
Hoffman allegedly placed an air-freshener near the body to mask the smell of decomposition. A murder weapon was never found, but forensic examination of the body indicated Consentino had been struck in the head multiple times with a blunt object, possibly a hammer, Wagstaffe said. Burlingame police used Hoffman’s cell phone records to trace him to Glendale in Southern California, where he was arrested at a motel on Dec. 8, 2011. Hoffman pleaded not guilty to murder charges in January 2012 and remains in custody without bail.
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