JEFFERSON-For the time being, Joshua “Hoppy” Hopkins can return to his home in Tennessee.
The former Ashe County Sheriff’s deputy and “Southern Justice” television star was granted a motion by Superior Court Judge John Craig, III last week to have the terms of his pre-trial release modified to allow him to return to his home in Tennessee.
Originally, it was ordered that Hopkins could not leave Ashe County, which is the venue for his upcoming trial.
His arraignment and the subsequent motions by his defense team stem from a deadly officer involved shooting that took place in Crumpler last summer.
In late September, Hopkins was charged with second degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious bodily injury in the shooting death of Shatley, 62, following an altercation on July 8, 2015.
Shatley allegedly confronted officers who were responding to a disturbance. The incident was reported around 10 p.m. in Crumpler on Shatley Road, just off of Highway 16.
According to previous statements by Ashe County Sheriff James Williams, a deputy was dragged by a vehicle driven by Shatley and shots were fired.
The ACSO said later that Deputies Christopher Roten, Joshua Hopkins and Brandon Miller had been involved in the incident, but the agency declined to say which of the deputies had allegedly been dragged prior to the shooting. The three deputies were placed on administrative leave, but were reinstated the week of Aug. 17, 2015.
A postmortem toxilogic analysis of Shatley, detected elevated levels of ethanol – 150 mg/dl – in tissue taken from Shatley’s eye. That information comes from reports delivered to the Jefferson Post from the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Hopkins is scheduled to appear in Ashe County Superior Court again on Dec. 5.
A motion for a request of voluntary discovery was also made by his attorney, Jay Vannoy, on Oct. 4, according to court records. This is standard practice by defense teams.
The terms of his release also stipulate that Hopkins is not to have any contact with the members of the Dallas Shatley family.
Court records in Hopkins’ case also outlined the legally defined elements of second degree murder.
According to the state, a person is guilty of murder of a person in the second degree if they kill someone with malice.
Malice can be inferred from the intentional use of a deadly weapon to inflict harm.
Second degree murder can be established by showing a voluntary killing committed with a deadly weapon, according to the state.
The same court records that outlined the needed circumstances for a murder conviction also included details about what constitutes self-defense.
To rely upon self-defense to excuse a killing that would otherwise be criminal, the killer must have believed that the use of of force was necessary to prevent an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to himself or another person, said court records.
Also, the killer must not have used excessive force, according to the state.
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.