A Florence County magistrate on Wednesday waived the preliminary hearing for a man accused of shooting seven law enforcement officers earlier this month, killing two.
Magistrate Mia Weaver ruled 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins gave up his right to the hearing when he refused to participate Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, Hopkins claimed during the proceedings that his rights were being violated because the hearing did not occur within ten days of his request. But Weaver said state law only requires the hearing be set within ten days of Hopkins’s request. It must be held within 30 days of his arrest.
Hopkins is charged with killing two officers and attempted murder for five others shot outside his home on October 3. Florence County deputies had come to question Hopkins’s son Seth about an underage sex case when the elder Hopkins — a former Army sharpshooter — ambushed them. He also shot four Florence city officers who responded to the gunshots.
Seth Hopkins will be in the same courtroom on Thursday to face separate criminal sexual conduct charges.
No trial date is yet set. Hopkins, a disbarred attorney did not indicate if he wanted an attorney on his behalf, only arguing the hearing itself violated his rights.
Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway and Florence County Sheriff’s Investigator Farrah Turner died from their injuries. Carraway died the day of the shooting, while Turner passed away last week.