Jury finds man not guilty of CSC.

April 26, 2018

Neil Hopkins and defense attorney Jennifer Kuiper-Weise.

Jury finds man not guilty of CSC.

#OceanaCountyCrime

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 12-member jury found a 41-year-old Lafayette, Indiana man not guilty of all three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) Thursday, April 26, following a trial in 27th Circuit Court.

Neil Ashley Hopkins, of 1330 Sheron Chapel Rd., faced three felony counts of first-degree CSC – victim under 13 years old, each of which are punishable by up to life in prison.

“Neil has maintained his innocence throughout the entire case,” said his attorney, Jennifer Kuiper-Weise. “The state couldn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“We’re very grateful that we had a fair trial,” said Kuiper-Weise.

“First and foremost, the Oceana Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank the jury for their service,” said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. “They clearly paid careful attention to the evidence and worked hard to render a verdict.

“We do wish for the victim that the verdict had been different,” Bizon said. “We are heartbroken for the young woman who was brave enough to come forward and stand up to her alleged abuser.”

Hopkins rejected a plea offer earlier this month that included a one-year cap on his jail time if he pleaded to second-degree CSC.

Sentencing guidelines in the case were nine to 15 years, stated Judge Robert D. Springstead who presided over the trial.

Hopkins was found competent to stand trial after undergoing psychiatric testing.

Hopkins, who was free on a $50,000/cash/surety bond, was arrested approximately a year ago.

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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