Solicitor to ask judge to grant mental health evaluation for Florence deadly ambush suspect

Solicitor to ask judge to grant mental health evaluation for Florence deadly ambush suspect
Frederick Hopkins (Source: Florence County Detention Center)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – A new motions hearing is scheduled for Monday afternoon involving the man accused of killing two Florence officers and injuring five others during an ambush last October, according to 12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements.

Clements told WMBF News he filed an order of transport Wednesday to get Fred Hopkins back to Florence for the motions hearing.

He said he plans to file a motion to grant a mental health evaluation for Hopkins in order to test his criminal responsibility and competence to stand trial.

This comes just a couple of days after The Post and Courier, a Charleston-based newspaper, published a report on the deadly ambush which included letters from suspect Fred Hopkins.

In the letters, Fred Hopkins blames severe post-traumatic stress disorder for what happened.

In the three letters he wrote, Hopkins described a four-decade battle with PTSD that included hospitalization and therapy starting in 1977, when he retired from U.S. Army active duty following combat in Vietnam, according to The Post and Courier.

Clements told WMBF News that he read the article and thinks that it could be damaging to the trial.

The family of Farrah Turner, one of the officers killed in the ambush, reached out WMBF News and said they are “deeply angered” by Hopkins’ words.

The judge will grant the motion or deny it. If the judge grants the motion, they will move forward and request the mental health evaluation.

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