YADKINVILLE — Former Ashe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Josh “Hoppy” Hopkins was found not guilty of second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The verdict came from a jury in Yadkin County Monday.
The trial, originally set to take place in Ashe County, was moved to Yadkin County after both sides agreed to the defense’s motion for a change of venue, according to court documents obtained from the Yadkin County Clerk of Court.
The trial originally began on March 5, taking multiple days to play out and present evidence before being turned over to the jury for deliberation Friday afternoon.
Hopkins was originally charged for the shooting of Dallas Shatley, being indicted on Sept. 9, 2016. Shatley, of Crumpler, was killed on July 8, 2015, when Ashe County deputies responded to a call to the Shatley residence. Hopkins was one of the responding deputies, and confronted what then-sheriff James Williams described as a “belligerent” Shatley.
In 2015, Williams described the shooting as follows: “There was a weapon in the vehicle at some point. (The deputies) were trying to get the weapon out of the vehicle and one of the officers wound up being dragged by the vehicle with (Shatley) driving the vehicle backwards. There were shots fired as a result of that.”
Deputies recovered a Remington 22-250 rifle from Shatley’s Ford F-250 pickup truck after the shooting.
Williams also stated that between 2010 and the night of the shooting, Ashe County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Shatley residence 89 times.
All deputies were wearing body cameras that night, and the footage was admitted as evidence, per court documents obtained from the Yadkin County Clerk of Court.
Although Hopkins was acquitted of all charges, there is a pending civil suit between Shatley’s wife and daughters and the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office under common law for wrongful death.
Various Facebook groups were formed in support of Hopkins, utilizing the tagline “I stand with Hoppy” to show their support.
The Blue Brotherhood, a national organization dedicated to supporting current and retired law enforcement officers, held a fundraiser for Hopkins at Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Prior to his indictment, Hopkins was working as law enforcement in Carter County, Tennessee, and was placed on administrative leave without pay as a result of his indictments.
Hopkins also was featured on multiple episodes of National Geographic’s reality TV show Southern Justice, a program about law officers in Appalachian communities in North Carolina and Tennessee.