Darin Schilmiller sentenced to 99 years in murder of Cynthia Hoffman


Darin Mitchell Schilmiller of New Salisbury, Indiana, was sentenced Thursday by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson to 99 years, with none suspended for his role in the murder of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman near Thunderbird Falls in Chugiak in 2019. He won’t be eligible for parole for 45 years, when he is 70 years old.

Schilmiller, 25, previously pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree.

On June 2, 2019, Cynthia Hoffman was shot and killed by her friends on the banks of the Eklutna River near Thunderbird Falls. Afterward, her body was dumped in the Eklutna River. Later, it was discovered that Schilmiller had solicited the murder of Hoffman from then 18-year-old Denali Brehmer of Anchorage. Schilmiller also solicited child pornography from Brehmer; conduct that led to additional charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Schilmiller’s sentencing occurred over three days. The judge gave him the maximum sentence; he could have been sentenced for as little as 15 years.

The State requested a sentence of 99 years with none suspended and an order restricting Schilmiller’s eligibility for discretionary parole. Schilmiller requested a sentence of 70 years with 20 years suspended.

Members of Cynthia Hoffman’s family provided victim impact statements at sentencing. Her father, Timothy Hoffman, described her as his “right hand man.” Her uncles described her as precious, vibrant, beautiful, and fun loving.

Judge Peterson called the case “extremely sad” and “shocking.” He described it as a premeditated murder-for-hire that was an “assassination” of Cynthia Hoffman.

Peterson found that Schilmiller’s conduct was among the most serious solicitation to commit first-degree murder cases and among the most serious contract killing cases. He further found that Schilmiller committed the murder “for the mere thrill of it” and called him a “worst offender” for purposes of sentencing based on the conduct in this case, saying that Schilmiller will “always be a risk to the community.”

The court also expressed hope that the sentence would be a deterrence to others, recognizing that if it encourages one person to not commit a murder going forward, then it is a successful outcome.

Other defendants were charged with causing Hoffman’s death. Denali Brehmer’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2024, in front of Judge Peterson. Caleb Leyland’s sentencing is scheduled for June 10, 2024, in front of Judge Peterson.

Kayden McIntosh’s case is pending trial.

The case was investigated by the Anchorage Police Department’s homicide unit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation based out of Alaska and Indiana, and the Indiana State Police. Schilmiller is currently in the custody of the Alaska Department of Corrections.


  1. This horrible murder should encourage the legislature to provide Alaskans with a Death Penalty. One that.is considered Cruel and Unusual.

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