FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The man accused of ambushing Florence County officers as they responded to his home earlier this month to execute a search warrant for a criminal sexual conduct investigation involving his son will appear in court this week.
According to Florence County Solicitor Ed Clements, 74-year-old Fred Hopkins will have a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Hopkins faces two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder in connection with the Oct. 3 shooting in the Vintage Place neighborhood that claimed the life of Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway. On Oct. 22, Florence County Sheriff’s Inv. Farrah Turner died from injuries she sustained in the shooting.
On Thursday, Hopkins’ son, 28-year-old Seth Hopkins, will also appear for a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. He is charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 11 and 14.
Clements said the suspects and their attorneys requested the hearings, which will determine probable cause in the cases.
The prosecution will present evidence as to why there is probable cause, while the defense has the opportunity to question that evidence, according to Clements. A judge will ultimately make a decision.
Clements said magistrate judges from Marlboro and Sumpter counties will preside over the hearings following the recusal of Florence County Magistrate Judge Belinda Timmons, although it is unclear which judge will handle which hearing.
Both hearings will take place in the magistrate courtroom at the Florence County Detention Center in Effingham.