Man pleads not guilty to killing elderly roommate

January 19, 2012 1:54:16 PM PST
A Burlingame man who was arrested last month on suspicion of fatally beating his 70-year-old roommate pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in San Mateo County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Lawrence Hoffman, 64, was arrested Dec. 8 at a motel in Glendale, Calif., where police believe he fled after striking his roommate in the head with a blunt instrument sometime around Dec. 5, according to the district attorney's office.

Police discovered the victim, later identified as Joseph Consentino, after receiving a tip on Dec. 8 from an acquaintance of Hoffman's, who said he had confessed to killing his roommate.

The victim was found in the apartment he shared with Hoffman in the 1900 block of Garden Drive. He had a five-inch fracture to the back of his skull, according to the district attorney's office.

Prosecutors allege that Hoffman covered the victim's body with blankets and placed an air freshener dispenser in the room before fleeing to Southern California.

Police used Hoffman's cellphone records to track him down, prosecutors said.

He was later brought back to San Mateo County, where he remains in custody without bail.

Hoffman is scheduled to appear in court to set a preliminary hearing date on March 14.