Hopson appears in court for preliminary hearing

Published 3:07 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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Staff Report

A Claiborne County man accused of killing his wife appeared in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Benjamin Hopson has been charged with criminal homicide. He is accused of stabbing his wife Lori Hopson earlier this month. According to arrest warrants, he violently attacked her when they were in their car on Barren Creek Road.

The arrest warrant also alleges that he cut her throat after the car went down an embankment and left her body lying on the ground next to the vehicle. 

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WATE reports that the state called six witnesses to the stand for Hopson’s preliminary hearing. Chris Robbins was one of those witnesses.

He told the court that he was at his in-laws’ house when he saw a naked man walking by.

“I instructed my son to get down to the floorboard and not to get up,” Robbins said. “My wife got out of the vehicle also. I began to address him from a distance, telling him to get off the property.”

Robbins went on to tell the court that Hopson walked towards him and he noticed Hopson was covered in blood.

“I noticed at that time that both of his hands were covered in blood past the wrists, he had a large blood smear on his left thigh,” Robbins said.

Another witness called to the stand was Claiborne County Deputy Kenneth Ochoa. He was the first officer to respond to the scene of the reported crash.

“I had asked Mr. Brame if she was alright,” Ochoa said. “He gave the sign that she wasn’t and I do believe he told me that she had a slit on her neck, and she wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat.”

TBI Special Agent Kris Sanders was the final witness that took the stand for the state. He was called to the scene to assist with the investigation. He told the court he saw stains that were consistent with blood inside the car.

“A lot of reddish brown stains, some of those stains indicated directionality,” Sanders said. “There were several patterns to those reddish brown stains that I observed.”

Sanders went on to say he is waiting on the results to come back from the testing on the evidence collected. He went on to say a search of the scene was conducted a few days later to try to find the knife used in the homicide.

“Deployed to the scene a few days later and conducted a very thorough search trying to locate any evidence that may be at the scene,” Sanders said.

The knife used in the homicide has still not been found.

The defense did not call any witnesses on Tuesday. The judge ruled the case would be bound over to the grand jury.