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New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano

Updated: State may release woman whose false carjacking claim led to death of State Trooper

Diana Hoffman is slated for release under governor’s COVID-19 medical furlough program

By David Wildstein, June 25 2020 11:43 am

The Murphy administration is considering a medical furlough to a woman whose false police report led to the death of a 28-year-old New Jersey State Trooper has her serving a 15-year prison term.

Trooper Marc Castellano was killed on June 6, 2010 while searching for an alleged gunman that Diana Hoffman claimed had carjacked her.  Castellano was struck by a passing motorist while standing on the side of the road.

Hoffman, 40, is one of more than two dozen inmates being slated by the state to receive a medical furlough aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

She meets the objective criteria of the medical furlough program developed by the Murphy administration, the New Jersey Globe has learned.  Her spot on the referral list does not guarantee her release.

Diana Hoffman. Photo: New Jersey Division of Corrections.

Hoffman admitted to fabricating the story of her carjacking and the gunman.

She was denied parole earlier on June 11 and would not be eligible again for eighteen months.  Hoffman meets the objective criteria of the medical furlough program developed by the Murphy administration, the New Jersey Globe has learned, and a hearing has been set for tomorrow.

“The fact that Inmate Hoffman is scratching and clawing at any attempt to garner her freedom and now using a public health crisis as a vehicle for that after her June 11, 2020 denial is reprehensible and demonstrates the absence of rehabilitation and responsibility for her actions, said Wayne Blanchard, the State Troopers Fraternal Association president.

Blanchard said the state should never forget Castellano’s heroic actions and “allow them to be minimized by this latest farce by Inmate Hoffman.”

Castellano suffered catastrophic injuries and died later that day, leaving behind his wife and two pre-school age children.

“In a time when law enforcement officers throughout the State and Country are under attack and relations among law enforcement officers and citizens are already strained, releasing a woman whose deliberate actions directly led to the death of a New Jersey State Trooper sends a wrong message about the value of law enforcement officers,” said William Ames of the Former Troopers Association of New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy had announced in April that he would order the temporary release of some prisoners.

Hoffman has served nine years of a fifteen year sentence for eluding police and causing public alarm for filing a false police report.

Four days earlier, Hoffman had evaded police after a high-speed chase in Burlington County.

A section of Route 195 in Howell where Castellano was killed has been renamed to honor the former trooper.  Murphy signed the legislation designating the “State Trooper Marc K. Castellano Memorial Highway” in 2018.

“Committed to the service of others, Marc perfectly exemplified our New Jersey values; he was courageous, selfless and a true patriot,” Murphy said in a press release at the time. “The loss of Trooper Castellano is yet another reminder of the bravery our law enforcement officers demonstrate each and every day, and this commemoration will ensure that Trooper Castellano’s sacrifice to give his life while protecting the public will never be forgotten.”

Castellano grew up in Jackson and lived in Howell.

This story was updated at 12:48 PM.

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