A 13-year-old girl told the man who raped her and killed her mother and little brother that she no longer was afraid of him moments before he was sentenced to life in prison.
"This has changed my whole life and my family's life, too," the girl wrote in a statement read by Knox County, Ohio, Prosecutor John Thatcher.
"This is so sickening, Matthew, to know you even had the guts to do this to a family," her statement said, referring to the defendant, Matthew Hoffman, 30.
Hoffman pleaded guilty today to killing three people, stuffing their bodies in a hollow tree, and kidnapping and raping the 13-year-old girl. He was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
"I believe [the victim] isn't afraid of Hoffman anymore, if she says so," Thatcher told ABC News after the sentencing. "I was glad she got to see him go to prison today."
The girl previously was identified, but now her name is being withheld because it has become apparent she was a sex crime victim.
The indictment and today's hearing cleared up some of the mystery around the gruesome crime. Some speculated that Hoffman targeted the family in order to kidnap the girl, but prosecutors said the carnage was the result of a burglary gone wrong.
"Hoffman did not target this family," Thatcher said. "He chose to burglarize the house because he saw that he could enter through an open garage door. We believe he burglarized another house in the county entering through an open garage door."
The indictment said that Hoffman, an unemployed former tree trimmer with a rap sheet, was attempting to burglarize the home of Tina Herrmann, 32, on Nov. 10.
He was surprised by the family and then stabbed Hermann to death along with her son, Kody Maynard, 11, and a family friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41. He also killed the family dog.
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In the home was Herrmann's 13-year-old daughter, who Hoffman kidnapped and brought to his residence, where he raped her, the indictment said.
"For whatever reason, he chose to spare [the girl], and thank God he did," Thatcher said after the court hearing today, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The prosecutor added that Hoffman, when confronted by evidence of his crime, agreed to tell police where he stashed the bodies and plead guilty if he was spared the death penalty. Officials have said they never would have found the bodies if Hoffman hadn't directed them to the precise location.
Thatcher told ABC News that police quickly were able to identify Hoffman as the killer because he left behind a Walmart bag in Hermann's house containing a tarp and heavy duty trash bags.
"The product codes on the items and store records were used to determine the date and time of purchase," Thatcher said.
Officials identified Hoffman as the purchaser through store surveillance video and were able to see the the Toyota Yaris he drove when he left the store, Thatcher said. Hoffman's name also turned up in a check of area Yaris owners.
"State DMV records and a recent driver's license photo put a name to the face seen in the store surveillance video -- Matthew Hoffman," Thatcher said.
According to police, an officer remembered speaking to Hoffman near where Hermann's stolen pickup truck was found. Police obtained a search warrant for Hoffman's home and found the 13-year-old prisoner bound and gagged in his basement.