BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - One of two men charged in the 2019 fatal shooting of an Illinois State Police trooper in East St. Louis has changed his not guilty plea, the St. Clair County state’s attorney’s office said.
Al Stewart Jr., 21, pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to armed violence, obstructing justice, and possession with intent to distribute cannabis charges in the death of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins of Waterloo.
Hopkins, 33, was wounded during an exchange of gunfire while serving a warrant at an East St. Louis home on Aug. 23, 2019. He died later at a St. Louis hospital. Investigators determined that while Stewart was in possession of a handgun, he wasn’t the shooter.
State’s attorney spokesman Chris Allen would not say why no record of Stewart’s guilty plea has been filed with the St. Clair County Circuit Court clerk’s office as of Wednesday.
“We’re unable to comment on the case as it is pending litigation before the court,” Allen told the Belleville News-Democrat.
Stewart’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 23.
Christopher R. Grant, who lived at the home where the warrant was being served, has been charged with murder in Hopkins’ death and is awaiting trial. Grant and Stewart engaged in a day-long standoff with East St. Louis police, Illinois State Police, the SWAT team and other law enforcement before they surrendered.
Grant was indicted on eight federal charges in March 2020, including first-degree murder, maintaining a drug house, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime.
Stewart pleaded guilty to federal gun charges related to a standoff with police after the shooting of Hopkins. He was sentenced in September to four years in prison to serve concurrently with any sentence imposed in state court.
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