Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Man pleads not guilty in shooting of girlfriend


Mother of his children had moved out

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Michael Hopkins (left) is directed to his seat by Boone County Deputy Sheriff Chester Snow for arraignment on murder charges in the shooting death of his girlfriend.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
BURLINGTON - Sobbing as the charges against him were read, Michael Hopkins appeared in court Tuesday, accused of gunning down the mother of his children.

Hopkins, 20, of Florence pleaded not guilty to murder and tampering with evidence. His bond was set at $2 million.

"With the facts and circumstances surrounding the case," said County Attorney J.R. Schrand, "I think the high bond was appropriate."

Authorities say Hopkins shot Crystal Smith, 22-- who had lived with Hopkins on Celtic Ash Drive but recently moved out to a nearby apartment -- once in the head on Monday. Hopkins was arrested shortly after the shooting at an acquaintance's home. Two guns were recovered in the trash bin at the apartment complex where the pair lived.

Smith's family members, who attended Hopkins' arraignment on Tuesday, said the estranged couple had been fighting.

They said Smith had recently moved out of an apartment she shared with Hopkins to a friend's apartment two doors down. The shooting took place at the door of the friend's apartment. Police said Hopkins was inside the friend's apartment and shot Smith when she entered at about noon on Monday. At least two people witnessed the shooting, police said.

It wasn't immediately clear how many children the couple had together.

He also said police have opened a second investigation after a search of Hopkins' apartment turned up drugs.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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