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Woman faces sentencing in Kansas factory shooting case

Posted November 26

— A federal judge will weigh the mental state of a woman who gave her ex-boyfriend guns he used in February's mass shooting at a Kansas lawn equipment factory in deciding what her sentence should be next week.

The defense attorney for Sarah Hopkins has filed a sentencing memorandum that includes her psychological evaluation in advance of Monday's hearing before U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita.

Though the memo is sealed, earlier defense filings cited an evaluation in March that concluded Hopkins suffered from PTSD and battered woman's syndrome at the time of the offenses.

Prosecutors say Hopkins gave a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun to Cedric Ford, a convicted felon who took those weapons to the Excel Industries plant in Hesston on Feb. 25 and shot several people, killing three and wounding 14. Ford was shot and killed by authorities.

Hopkins pleaded guilty in September to a reduced charge for not alerting authorities that a convicted felon unlawfully possessed firearms. The charge carries a maximum sentence of three years, but prosecutors agreed in the plea deal to recommend a sentence at the low end of sentencing guidelines and not oppose her request for a sentence of probation.

She was initially indicted on the more serious charge of transferring weapons to a prohibited person.

Her attorney, Doug Adams, declined comment. But in court filings he has suggested that Hopkins acted the way she did because Ford threatened and abused her.

Court documents show Hopkins told investigators that she gave him the guns because he had threatened her. The couple, which had two young children together, had lived together in Newton in 2015.

Her plea deal also noted there is no evidence that Hopkins was aware Ford planned to harm anyone and no evidence that Ford formulated a plan to kill people at Excel prior to the shooting.

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