Woman Accused Of Providing Guns To Hesston Shooter Appears In Court

Mar 1, 2016
Originally published on March 17, 2016 2:57 pm

Update from AP on 03/18/16 at 2:54 p.m: 

A federal judge has set a May trial date for the woman accused of giving her former boyfriend the guns used in last month's mass shooting at a Kansas lawn equipment factory.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren issued on Thursday a scheduling order in the case of 28-year-old Sarah Jo Hopkins, setting May 3 for her trial. The Newton woman has pleaded not guilty to transferring weapons to a prohibited person.

Prosecutors say she gave 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.

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

Original Story: 

A woman who is allegedly connected to last week’s deadly shooting in Hesston made her first appearance in court Monday afternoon.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Hopkins of Newton was joined by several family members as she went before a federal judge in Wichita. Hopkins has been formally charged with knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon.

Hopkins is accused of giving a semi-automatic rifle and a hand gun to Cedric Ford, who opened fire last Thursday at Excel Industries, a lawnmower manufacturing facility in Hesston where Ford worked as a painter. He killed three people and wounded 14 others. A responding officer shot and killed Ford a half-hour after the attack began.

Sarah Hopkins' bond was set at $10,000, and court records show she posted bond Monday afternoon, according to the AP.

Her next court appearance is set for March 9.

The AP reports Ford was the father of Hopkins' 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. She told investigators she moved out of a home she shared with Ford in July 2015; police helped her retrieve the firearms, which she legally owned. Hopkins says she returned the guns to Ford last August because he had threatened her, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

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