Man guilty of killing fellow barfly

Lawrence Hoffman was convicted Thursday of murdering a fellow barfly and leaving an air freshener next to the body in a Burlingame apartment.

After less than two days of deliberating, a San Mateo County jury found Hoffman guilty of savagely beating to death 70-year-old Joe Cosentino with a mallet on Dec. 5, 2011. He faces 26 years to life in state prison was he is sentenced July 12.

Hoffman, a former employee at CVS Pharmacy in Burlingame, moved into Cosentino's Garden Drive apartment after befriending him at a neighborhood bar.  They made better drinking buddies than roommates, squabbling over cleanliness and smoking habits, among other issues, prosecutors said.

On Dec. 5, prosecutors said, Hoffman struck Cosentino multiple times over the back of the head after an argument. He later blabbed to an acquaintance about the killing, and the acquaintance reportedly informed police. He was subsequently arrested in Glendale.

Hoffman’s attorney, Geoff Carr, said Cosentino had propositioned Hoffman for oral sex, according to the San Mateo Daily Journal. That triggered a rage in Hoffman was was born when he was raped by his father. As a child, Carr told the newspaper, Hoffman was sodomized while forced to bark like a dog.

Prosecutors told the paper Hoffman’s story is for the most part a lie and said the argument with Cosentino that day was really over money.

When police found Cosentino's body, he was covered in blankets, with an air freshener set out nearby, Wagstaffe said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

@sflawdisorder

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