- Associated Press - Thursday, September 8, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A woman accused of giving her former boyfriend guns that he used to kill three people and wound 14 others before he was shot to death at a Kansas lawn equipment factory has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.

Sarah Jo Hopkins of Newton acknowledged in court Thursday that she didn’t alert authorities that she had given a rifle and a handgun to convicted felon Cedric Ford, who used the weapons on Feb. 25 at the Excel Industries plant in Hesston.

Hopkins, who was originally charged with transferring weapons to a prohibited person, will be sentenced Nov. 28.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren said during the hearing that no evidence indicated Hopkins knew that Ford planned the shootings at Excel and, in fact, no evidence suggested Ford planned the shooting until the day it occurred, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/2c9yUTi ).

Hopkins’ parents and the friends and loved ones of shooting victims attended the hearing.

In her plea, Hopkins admitted that on Feb. 5, she gave Ford an AK 47-type rifle and a .40-caliber Glock handgun after redeeming them from a pawn shop in Newton. Investigators recovered the weapons at Excel after the shooting. Hopkins has said she gave Ford the weapons because he threatened her. They have two children together.

Hopkins, who left the hearing with her family, faces up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to ask for a reduced prison sentence and won’t object to Hopkins seeking probation.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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