Disbarred lawyer accused of shooting 7 officers in ambush argues over financial need

South Carolina News

FLORENCE CO, SC (WBTW) — The Florence man charged with shooting seven police officers in an ambush, killing two of them, appeared in court on Wednesday.

Fred Hopkins Jr., 76, a disbarred lawyer, has not officially been appointed an attorney to represent him. That issue was the highlight of Wednesday’s hearing. Hopkins did have some legal help in court while his financial status was discussed.

Hopkins is facing two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. He’s in a Columbia jail awaiting trial. A trial date has not been set. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Hopkins.

Officials said deputies went to Hopkins’ home in October 2018 to interview his 28-year-old son, Seth David Hopkins, about sex crimes against a child when the older Hopkins started shooting at police. Last year, Seth Hopkins was charged with five new counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years old (first degree), and two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 16 years old. He also remains in the Columbia jail awaiting trial.

Hopkins, a disabled Vietnam vet, entered the courtroom on Wednesday in handcuffs, carrying a load of documents. A judge previously found him not to be indigent, meaning he was not to be found poor, and Hopkins said he wants the court to reconsider that. 

Whether he’s considered to be indigent or not is key to getting Hopkins an appointed attorney.  Prosecutors pointed to the large home Hopkins once lived in, his wife’s career, and his large gun collection. Hopkins is married to Florence divorce attorney Cheryl Turner-Hopkins, the AP reports.

In the end, Judge Eugene Griffith Junior said he will direct Hopkins’ daughter to create a good faith and fact based inventory of his assets to be considered by the court. His daughter will have 30 days to produce the inventory.

The court will reconvene after that. The judge said that likely will be in about 45 days. 

Heroes Day honors officers

Florence County has declared Oct. 3 “Heroes Day” to honor Sgt. Terrence Carraway and Florence County Investigator Farrah Turner who died and the other wounded officers — Florence Police Sgt. Brian Hart; Florence Police investigators Scott Williamson and Travis Scott; Florence County Investigator Sarah Miller and Florence County Deputy Arie Davis.

Count on News13 for updates and coverage.

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