William James Hoffert III

Billings man arrested for road rage shooting

A Billings man implicated in the reported beating death of a man in June faces a new felony after prosecutors say he attacked another man two months prior, breaking multiple bones in his face.

William James Hoffert III, 37, pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault in Yellowstone County District Court on Monday. Judge Gregory Todd set bond at $50,000, to run concurrent to his $700,500 bond in other criminal cases, according to the Yellowstone County Detention Center.

The newest charge stems from an incident on April 19, 2017, when a man says Hoffert took him by surprise upon exiting Carbone’s Pizzeria at 3925 Grand Ave.

The man was walking to his truck around 4:30 p.m. when he heard Hoffert, whom he says he does not know, call him by name. The man turned, and Hoffert punched him in the side of his face, continuing to attack him for roughly a minute, charges state.

When Hoffert finished punching the man, he reportedly said, “I’m Billy Hoffert,” according to charges. The man told police the name meant nothing to him and “he had no idea why he was assaulted,” charges state.

Hoffert then got into another vehicle and was driven away, the man told police. Video footage from neighboring businesses showed a man punching the victim until he fell to the ground.

The man told police he feared Hoffert had broken his jaw and later learned at the hospital that he indeed had a broken jaw and broken nose, requiring surgery, charges state.

Hoffert also is charged in the beating death of a Billings man, Rory Wanner, that took place June 28, 2017. Wanner was beaten to death during a confrontation at a home in the Heights, witnesses told police. Hoffert helped remove Wanner’s body and a green garbage bin containing bloody clothing, according to court documents charging him with two counts of evidence tampering.

Hoffert is also the defendant in a road rage case from June 25, 2017, in which prosecutors say he shot out another vehicle’s tire after arguing with the driver at the stop light at Highway 87 and Interstate 90.

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Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.