Battered woman defense planned in Kansas factory shooting

Sarah Hopkins' booking photo in Sedgwick County.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman accused of giving her former boyfriend guns used in a shooting at a Kansas lawn equipment factory told a court Wednesday that she plans to mount a battered woman’s syndrome defense at her August trial.

Prosecutors allege Sarah Jo Hopkins gave the shooter, Cedric Ford, an AK-47-type semi-automatic rifle and a .40-caliber handgun that he used in the Feb. 25 attack at Excel Industries in Hesston. Four people, including Ford, were killed and 14 others were injured.

The 28-year-old Newton woman has pleaded not guilty to transferring weapons to a prohibited person.

Her attorney, Douglas Adams, filed a formal notice saying he plans to introduce expert evidence related to her mental state, telling the court such testimony would help the jury determine Hopkins’ state of mind and whether she acted as she did because Ford threatened and abused her.

Hopkins has told investigators that she gave him the guns because he had threatened her. The couple had two young children together.

The defense is seeking to suppress statements Hopkins made to four armed ATF agents whom she let into her home at 2:30 a.m. the day after the shooting. Her attorney noted she was questioned for an hour and a half in her living room while two agents stood by the only outside exit in the room. Their questioning elicited incriminating statements from Hopkins that the weapons used in the shooting were hers and that she had purchased them for Ford when while they were in a relationship, her attorney said. She also told agents she retrieved the firearms after the two broke up and that she subsequently gave the guns to Ford a week later.

Her father asked at the time of the questioning whether they needed an attorney, and the agents replied Hopkins did not need one, Adams wrote.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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