FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – The Florence man charged with the murders of sergeant Terrence Carraway and investigator Farrah Turner appeared before a judge Wednesday morning for a preliminary hearing. However, the hearing was cut short.
Frederick Hopkins, the man accused of gunning down two law enforcement officers and injuring five others on Oct. 3, chose not to participate in the hearing. The judge told Hopkins his silence served as a waiver of his right to a preliminary hearing.
Hopkins told the judge he wanted to be excused because he said the hearing was a violation of his constitutional rights. He claimed the hearing was not held within ten days of his written request for a preliminary hearing and asked to be transported back to Richland County.
The judge initially overruled his objection saying the hearing would go forward. The court also heard from Solicitor Ed Clements, who said action was taken on Hopkins’ request immediately.
Hopkins continued to ask to be excused and Judge Weaver eventually called a 5-minute recess, for which Hopkins was escorted from the courtroom. Upon the court’s return, Judge Weaver informed Hopkins that she received confirmation that the hearing was scheduled within ten days of his request, therefore the hearing was constitutional.
“We Received the handwritten request from him and immediately forwarded it to the magistrate’s office and action was taken within ten days,” says Solicitor Clements. “It would be almost impossible across the state to have every preliminary hearing occur within a ten day period. That just doesn’t happen, but they take action on it within the ten days. None of his constitutional rights were violated. They were protected. The right is to have a preliminary hearing. He was granted that right.”
Hopkins is now being transported back to Richland County. There is no word yet on when a trial will be held.
Florence County Investigator Arie Davis, one of the five surviving victims of Hopkins’ alleged shooting spree, attended Wednesday’s preliminary hearing.