Son of accused Florence mass shooter receives 20 years on child sex charge

Updated: Dec. 16, 2019 at 7:11 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The son of the man accused in a deadly ambush shooting in Florence was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to child sex crimes.

In a plea hearing Monday at the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia, Seth Hopkins pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

As part of the plea agreement, nine additional criminal sexual conduct charges against Hopkins were dropped.

Hopkins, who was arrested on Oct. 5, 2018, will be given credit for time served. Upon his release, Hopkins will be placed on GPS monitoring for life and must register as a sex offender.

Twelfth Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements said the reason for the guilty plea is to prevent the victims from reliving the trauma.

“Some victims are tougher than others as far as willing to go in and experience a court procedure, which is not fun and some are fragile and we would be doing them more harm than good to go through a trial,” Clements said.

Two days prior to his arrest, Florence County deputies were serving a search warrant on Hopkins’ home in the Vintage Place neighborhood when his father, Fred Hopkins, allegedly opened fire, shooting seven law enforcement officers.

Florence police Sgt. Terrence Carraway died at the scene. Florence County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Farrah Turner, who was the lead investigator on the case, died from injuries sustained in the ambush a few weeks later.

During the hearing, Brad Kirkland, Seth Hopkin’s attorney, blamed his client’s poor decisions on the family’s “chaotic” home environment along with claims of him having mental and physical issues.

However, Chief Deputy Glen Kirby with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office said he would have liked to see Turner’s last case go to trial.

“She was passionate about what she did. She was a real advocate for the children so was Sarah, Arie and all of them with the forensic work they’ve done in the case, it would have just been good for us, but the attorneys make those decisions,” Kirby said.

Fred Hopkins faces two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder in connection to the shooting.

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