VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk man will serve a 17-year prison sentence for beating another man to death with a hammer.
Matthew Gene Hoaglund, 46, was sentenced Monday in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to 17 years in prison on a charge of second-degree murder. Hoaglund pleaded guilty to the charge on Sept. 13.
The commonwealth’s attorney’s office said Monday evening that if the case had gone to trial, evidence would have proved that Hoaglund struck another man, 58-year-old Daoud Bilal, with a hammer on Feb. 10, 2021. Bilal’s cause of death was later determined to be blunt force trauma to the head, with contributing acute fentanyl/despropionylfentanyl, heroin, and ethanol use.
The commonwealth’s attorneys office said Bilal’s roommate arrived home in the evening Feb. 10, 2021 to find Bilal unresponsive and bloodied. She called police, who responded and found Bilal with blunt force trauma to the head.
The drug-related contributing factors made Bilal die faster from the blunt force trauma, but did not cause him to die, prosecutors said.
After finding Bilal, investigators interviewed his acquaintances. Through the interviews, they learned Bilal and Hoaglund had been in a hotel room the night before and had a dispute about a heroin purchase. Hoaglund had wanted to buy the drug from Bilal, but had recently given Bilal fake money.
After that, Bilal would no longer sell to Hoaglund, prosecutors said.
‘Hoaglund believed he was being ‘ripped off’ by Bilal. Later, in an interview with detectives, Hoaglund told several lies about what happened to Bilal before finally admitting that things got out of control and he struck Bilal,” prosecutors wrote in a news release Monday.
Forensics also found bloodstains in Hoaglund’s car on the driver’s seat, floor mat and passenger door. At the time of the murder, Hoaglund’s wife was in the vehicle outside.
She told police that Hoaglund threw a hammer out the passenger side window as they were on the on-ramp for Interstate 64 west. He also threw his bloody sweatshirt into a dumpster in Norfolk.
Police recovered the hammer — which tested positive for Bilal’s blood — and the sweatshirt along with video evidence of Hoaglund throwing it away.
The medical examiner reported there was a gaping laceration to the left side of Bilal’s head, and a smaller abraded laceration to the back of the head. Under the laceration on the left side were oval-shaped fractures. Evidence from the autopsy aligned with the belief Bilal was struck with a blunt object such as the hammer that had been recovered.
Prosecutors said Hoaglund previously was convicted of assault and battery or a family member, assault and petit larceny.