Judge grants mental health evaluation motion for man accused of killing two Florence officers

Judge grants mental health evaluation motion for man accused of killing two Florence officers

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A judge granted a mental health evaluation motion Monday for the man charged with killing two Florence officers and injuring five others.

Twelfth Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements filed a second motion for a gag order to be issued in the case, which Judge Thomas Russo also granted, effective immediately.

Clements filed those motions after Charleston newspaper The Post and Courier published detailed letters Hopkins wrote to them from jail.

In the letters Hopkins wrote he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder that included hospitalization and therapy starting in 1977, when he retired from active duty in the U.S. Army following combat in Vietnam.

“I think this is absolutely the correct time since this issue has come all out into the public domain about what arguments would be made as to him suffering from PTSD and making him not criminally responsible and not to be competent at that time is all out for the public," Clements said.

The ambush shooting happened on Oct. 3, 2018 at Hopkins’ home in Florence’s Vintage Place neighborhood. Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway died at the scene, while Florence County Sheriff’s Inv. Farrah Turner succumbed to her injuries weeks later.

Turner’s family, Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler and other Florence County deputies were also inside the courtroom.

There is no date set for the mental evaluation.

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