Homeless man charged with attempted murder

June 27 – A homeless man faces charges of attempted murder as well as two other felonies and two misdemeanors for allegedly attacking another homeless man with a hammer and later allegedly breaking into an apartment.

Edward Hochrein, 37, was identified by witnesses as the alleged attacker.

Lewiston Police responded to a report of a man, later identified as Ryan Williams, 39, being injured with a hammer at 9:27 a.m. Friday at a homeless camp in the 600 block of Levee Bypass in south of the road and railway tracks. A witness led an officer to Williams, who was in the fetal position in her tent. Williams’ head and tent were covered in blood and he was breathing but unconscious. Doctors arrived and Williams was taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Officers spoke to other witnesses, who reportedly identified Hochrein as the attacker. A witness, who shared the tent with Williams, said he woke up to a commotion between Hochrein and Williams. The witness did not see Hochrein hitting Williams with the hammer, but reportedly saw a green-handled claw hammer in his hand. The witness believed the hammer to be his and Hochrein removed it from a toolbox kept in the tent. When Hochrein left the tent, he said to the witness “you’re next”, according to the affidavit.

Before responding to the report of the attack, Lewiston police responded to another call around 9:10 a.m. in the Pioneer Park and New Sixth Street area, where Hochrein was arrested for allegedly breaking into an apartment in the 200 block of New Sixth Street by kicking the door. He fled the apartment and was found and arrested in Pioneer Park, where police said he appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. During that incident, Lewiston police learned about the attack and Hochrein’s alleged involvement, according to the affidavit.

When questioned by investigators, Hochrein said he was looking for his girlfriend and believed he found her belongings at the camp. He also believed that the property in Williams’ tent belonged to his children. He said the other person in the tent allegedly stabbed Williams with a knife and hit Williams with the hammer. He said he was trying to protect Williams and took the hammer from the person and left the tent. When asked what he did with the hammer, he said he “threw it,” according to the affidavit.

Hochrein told investigators he went to Pioneer Park because he saw property he believed belonged to his girlfriend. He also believed his girlfriend had been stabbed and was in the apartment he allegedly broke into, according to the affidavit.

Hochrein denied hitting Williams and allegedly told police “if he had killed anyone, he would have killed witnesses as well,” according to the affidavit. Detectives also noticed various wounds, scrapes and abrasions on his hands and near his armpit.

Another detective went to St. Joe’s to follow up on Williams’ injuries. He reportedly saw severe trauma to the back of Williams’ head with three lacerations and a deformity to the back of his skull. Medical staff said Williams had multiple skull fractures, bleeding inside his skull and potential bits of brain matter in his hair near the lacerations. Later, Williams was taken to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, where he was considered in serious condition on Friday, according to the affidavit.

Hochrein was arrested for attempted first-degree murder “in view of the brutality of the attack on a man sleeping in his home” and “the severity of the injuries Williams suffered”, according to the affidavit. Hochrein was also charged with burglary for entering the tent and committing a felony and intimidating a witness, as well as misdemeanor charges of maliciously trespassing on property and unlawful entry in relation to the alleged break-in to the apartment. .

Hochrein appeared Monday via Zoom before Magistrate Judge Karin Seubert at the Nez Percé County Courthouse. The maximum penalty for attempted murder is 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The maximum penalty for burglary is 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The maximum penalty for intimidating a witness is five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Payton Lawrence represented Hochrein in his initial appearance, but Rick Cuddihy was named public defender. On behalf of Hochrein, Lawrence requested that he be released on his own recognizance (OR), meaning he would not have to post bail.

Hochrein has several felony convictions, including child rape, theft, and burglary, as well as misdemeanor convictions, including assault, domestic battery, and animal cruelty. Nez Perce County Assistant District Attorney Emily Moscrip also noted that Hochrein’s criminal history “shows he has a history of escalating violence,” she said. The prosecution requested $500,000 bail given Hochrein’s criminal history and six failures to appear in court, most recently from December 2022. The prosecution also requested a no contact order for Williams and the witness.

Seubert granted the $500,000 bail and no-contact orders, saying Hochrein “poses a risk to the community” and that she was “uncomfortable with an operating room release” .

Brewster can be reached at kbrewster@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2297.

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