Son of accused Vintage Place shooter in Florence pleads guilty to sex crime against minor

Pee Dee Crime

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – Seth Hopkins, who’s the son of accused Vintage Place neighborhood shooter Frederick Hopkins, pleaded guilty to a sex charge Monday morning.

Seth Hopkins pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor at the Richland County Judicial Center. Warrants say Seth raped an 11- to 14-year-old girl between Sept. 2017 and Oct. 2018.

A judge accepted the plea and gave Seth the maximum sentence of 20 years, minus time served of 437 days. Upon release, he’ll have GPS monitoring and will have to register as a sex offender.

The other nine charges against Seth, which included a second girl, were dismissed as part of the plea deal. He also waived his right to have the case tried in Florence County.

Brad Kirkland, who is Seth’s lawyer, explained in court why they didn’t want a trial.

“Unfortunately for Seth, unfortunately for the children, this would very likely be probably a two-week trial,” said Kirkland. “It would be extremely draining on both Seth and on the children that were originally involved in this indictment. Seth told me very specifically that he did not wish for her to go through a trial, have to testify, have to relive these things.”

Kirkland also said a chaotic household during Seth’s upbringing led to Seth’s “bad decisions.” He also said Seth’s “physical and mental issues” were a factor.

Ed Clements, who’s the 12th circuit solicitor, says he doesn’t think those conditions are an excuse.

“I would agree with part of what (Kirkland) said, but as far as his conclusion, I do not agree with that,” Clements said. “I agree that it was a chaotic place, to my knowledge.”

Fred Hopkins is accused of shooting at officers in the Vintage Place neighborhood of Florence on Oct. 3, 2018. Investigators were going to Hopkins’s house to execute search warrants. Chief Deputy Glen Kirby with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office says they were looking for evidence in Seth’s bedroom and other parts of the house. Seth was arrested on Oct. 5, 2018.

Florence city police Sgt. Terrence Carraway, 52, of Darlington, was killed in the shooting. Florence County Sheriff’s Investigator Farrah Turner was also shot and died from her injuries on Oct. 22, 2018.

City police officers Brian Hart, Travis Scott and Scott Williamson, as well as sheriff’s deputy Arie Davis and sheriff’s investigator Sarah Miller, were also shot and injured. Fred Hopkins faces two murder and five attempted murder charges.

Chief Deputy Kirby says Turner’s last case shows the pride she took in her work.

“I’m sure if Farrah was here, she would want to see this go to trial because she was passionate about what she did and she was a real advocate for the children,” he said. “So are Sarah (Miller) and Arie (Davis), with all the forensic work they had done in the case.”

Some friends and relatives of the officers shot or killed traveled to Columbia for Seth’s plea agreement. Because of a gag order, however, they and Clements didn’t discuss the Fred Hopkins case.

Clements did say he was pleased Seth Hopkins agreed to the maximum sentence on his charge and that a trial was avoided.

“It would have been a very, very tough thing emotionally for the victims to go through this in a trial, have to listen to all the evidence presented,” he said.

Fred Hopkins was denied bond on Oct. 5, 2018 and denied a public defender on Oct. 16, 2018.

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