Man accused of killing roommate in Burlingame pleads not guilty 

The man accused of killing a fellow barfly after they decided to share an apartment in Burlingame pleaded not guilty to the hideous attack Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Lawrence Hoffman, 64, is charged with beating to death 70-year-old roommate Joe Cosentino and leaving an air freshener next to the body before fleeing to Los Angeles.

Burlingame police found Cosentino’s body in an apartment in the 1900 block of Garden Drive. Authorities believe he was killed Dec. 5.

He had been struck multiple times over the back of the head with either a hammer or mallet, said Assistant District Attorney Albert Serrato, who is prosecuting the case.

Cosentino’s body was found covered in blankets, with an air freshener set out nearby, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Hoffman fled to Los Angeles and told a pal about the slaying, police said, complaining that Cosentino had been verbally provoking him for weeks. That acquaintance called police.

The pair became pals at a neighborhood bar, but they made better drinking buddies than roommates. They fought over cleanliness and smoking habits, among other issues, prosecutors said.

It was the first homicide in Burlingame since 2007, when a man was gunned down on U.S. Highway 101.

Hoffman remains in custody on no-bail status. He will next appear in court March 14 to set a preliminary hearing.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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