The killing of a Frederick teen that went unsolved for two decades came to a close Wednesday when a former Frederick man was sentenced to life in prison.
Lloyd Arbard Harris received two concurrent life sentences after being convicted in the 1996 death and rape of 15-year-old Stacy Lynn Hoffmaster. A jury found Harris, 54, guilty of murder, rape and third-degree sex offense in November.
Under Maryland law, Harris will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years in prison.
In a sentencing hearing Wednesday, prosecutors asked Judge William R. Nicklas Jr. for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Addressing the court, Deputy State’s Attorney Nanci Hamm referenced a pre-sentencing investigation report on Harris and described him as an evil man without a conscience.
“Mr. Harris really has nothing to show for his life,” Hamm said in court. “He took things when he wanted them, he destroyed things when he wanted to, and on October 1, 1996, he killed Stacy Lynn Hoffmaster.”
Chris Hoffmaster, Stacy’s brother, was given an opportunity to read a statement before the sentencing.
“It took 21 years to finally get justice. Today is a day for Stacy to have justice,” Hoffmaster said. “You’ve taken 21 years of memories away from us. ... You took her smile away forever.”
Stacy Hoffmaster disappeared on Oct. 1, 1996. Police found her body on Dec. 23 of the same year in the woods near Interstate 70 and East South Street in Frederick. She was bound in yellow cord and covered in a blue blanket. Police said the materials came from a camp Harris had built 50 yards from where the body was found, according to previous reports.
Harris was arrested in January 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri, where his address was listed as a Super Inn motel. He was extradited back to Frederick to face the charges.
Harris continued to maintain his innocence. Addressing the court Wednesday, Harris reiterated his claims that he had consensual sex with the teenager before her disappearance, but said he was not involved in her killing.
Public Defender Matthew Frawley, representing Harris, asked for a sentence that allowed the possibility of parole. Quoting Abraham Lincoln and Pope Francis, Frawley appealed to Nicklas for a sentence that offered Harris at least the hope of life after incarceration.
“Mr. Harris hopes and prays that the real killer is found,” Frawley said. “He has sisters, nieces, nephews. He has a daughter. When she was young, they went fishing together.”
Speaking for more than 30 minutes, Harris described his personal objections to the state’s case against him. Flipping through notes and documents, Harris listed what he saw as evidence supporting his innocence that was ignored: witnesses who were not questioned and comments he made in police interviews that were taken out of context by the prosecution, he said.
“I don’t expect anybody here to believe me. I’m just telling you what the record shows,” Harris said. “I’m not a violent person. I’m guilty of an act of perversion. I had sex with a minor. I do regret that. I know it was wrong. The last time I saw Stacy, by the church, pulling her pants up, she was pretty alive.”
DNA testing showed that Harris had sex with Hoffmaster, according to trial testimony. Prosecutors used forensic evidence and the items found on her body to link Harris to the crime.
Nicklas challenged Harris’ claims.
“Much of what you said, I remember testimony differing from how you described it,” Nicklas said before imposing the life sentence, which will come with the possibility of parole. “The bottom line is a jury of your peers found you guilty.”