Attoney James Hill's statement

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Attroney James Hill

Christopher Hoffman's attorney, James Hill, released this statement about the beating death of 19-year-old Ryan Ford early Saturday morning at a bonfire party:

"First, we want to be clear that our hearts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Mr. Ryan Ford during this difficult time. This is a tragic event with more questions than answers at this early stage in the investigation. At this point, based on the information available at this time, that there is no clear indication of the number of people that were present that evening and no clear indication of exactly what occurred leading up to the death of Mr. Ford.

"Mr. Hoffman presented himself voluntarily to the Jacksonville Sherriff's detectives for questioning and was cooperative until such time as it was clear it would be proper to have legal counsel present for further questioning. His invocation of his right to counsel during questioning should not to be considered an indication of wrongdoing or an attempt to delay the investigation of this case. It is entirely proper and advisable for an individual being questioned in a custodial setting to have legal counsel present before making statements that could be used against that person in any legal proceeding.

"We are hopeful that the public reserves judgment until all facts are available and that this case is properly handled in a court of law and not a court of public opinion."