FLORENCE, SC (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 the shooting spree, attended Wednesday’s preliminary hearing. Her godmother, Cheryl Graham, told News13 Investigator Davis was nervous and apprehensive about facing Hopkins but insisted on being there.
“She really wanted to be here. For every part of it that she can participate, she wants to participate,” Graham said.
Graham said Inv. Davis and Inv. Farrah Turner, who died last week from her injuries from the shooting attack, were close friends. She said Turner’s death has been hard for Davis, but she feels Turner would want her to stay positive and keep excelling.
“She knows Farrah would want her to go forward. And she would want her to do well. And as a matter of fact, she said that she knows that Farrah is saying that she’s okay and ‘Arie, you go forward.’ She wants her to do well,” she said.
Graham said her family is focusing on staying positive and all they want is justice, specifically for Sgt. Carraway and Inv. Turner.
“But before, those officers were known in Florence City and Florence County. So actually they gave their lives and it expanded their territory. They’re known better across the state and across the country and maybe even further. So what was supposed to end their life actually expanded their lives,” she said.
Graham also said Inv. Davis is recovering “surprisingly well” according to her doctors. She said she is remaining positive and uplifted, and is appreciative for all of the support from the community.