Greg and Kim Hoffman thought their six-year ordeal would end Wednesday when their former neighbor, Lori Christensen, dubbed ‘The Neighbor from Hell,” was scheduled to be sentenced for videotaping their home and car.
Christensen, 50, pleaded guilty in July to violating a restraining order by committing those acts, the latest in a long line of harassing behavior directed toward the Hoffmans. But she tried to take it all back Wednesday, filing a motion to withdraw her plea by alleging that it was coerced out of her.
Ramsey County District Court Judge Judith Tilsen strongly rebuked Christensen and denied her withdrawal, but because Christensen failed to sign and send in a waiver, she could not be sentenced Wednesday.
“We would really like to see an end to it,’’ said Kim Hoffman.
Christensen’s plea agreement called for 10 years’ probation, a 10-year stay-away order from her White Bear Lake neighborhood and a 10-year no-contact order with the Hoffman family.
The sentence is longer than recommended by state guidelines, so Christensen had to sign the wavier. (She agreed to this as part of her plea offer, which avoided prison time for the felony offense.) Now, a jury will hear evidence in the case to determine if the sentence is merited. A trial is scheduled for Oct. 14 and will likely last days.
“Each step of the way … we said, ‘This is the end,’ ” Greg Hoffman said of the ongoing court proceedings. “Here we are six years later. She continues to victimize us.”
The Hoffmans said they were disappointed that the sentencing was delayed, but glad Tilsen denied Christensen’s withdrawal.
Prosecutors could have accepted five years probation instead, but wanted to press on for 10 years.
Tilsen told Christensen there was no legal basis for her withdrawal, and that her claim that she was unaware of what she was doing when she pleaded was “not credible.”
Christensen, who has other convictions for harassing the Hoffmans, has mocked them with yard signs (“Fat people disgust me,” “I saw mommy kissing a breathalyzer”), exposed her bra to them and made masturbatory gestures toward Greg Hoffman and his daughter, then 8, among other transgressions.