County deputy found not guilty of murder charge in NC

Published 3:39 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Carter County deputy who had faced a murder charge in North Carolina was found not guilty by a jury on Monday.

Joshua “Hoppy” Hopkins was found not guilty of a charge of second-degree murder in a Yadkin County, N.C., courtroom at the conclusion of the trial against him. The charge against Hopkins stemmed from an officer-involved shooting on July 8, 2015, while he was a deputy with the Ashe County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office.

According to reports in both the Ashe Mountain Times and Jefferson Post newspapers, Hopkins and two other officers responded to a call, and they encountered Dallas Arthur Shatley, 62, who was reportedly intoxicated and armed with a weapon. Both newspapers state that Ashe County Sheriff James Williams said during the encounter one of the officers was dragged by a vehicle driven by Shatley and shots were fired. Shatley died as a result of injuries sustained in the incident according to reports.

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Hopkins left his employment with the Ashe County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office in October 2015 and accepted a position as a deputy at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.

In September 2016, Hopkins was indicted by a Grand Jury in North Carolina and turned himself in to authorities there.

Following the announcement of the charges against Hopkins, Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford placed the deputy on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the case against Hopkins.

At the time the charges were placed, Lunceford said when he looked into Hopkins’ background before hiring him, “there was nothing in his record to indicate anything like this.”

On Tuesday morning, Lunceford confirmed that Hopkins is still listed as an employee with his department and is still on administrative leave without pay.

“I’m sure sometime in the near future we will have a conversation with him about his intentions,” Lunceford said about Hopkins. “He was a good employee while he was here.”

During Hopkins’ tenure with the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, he became a regular on the National Geographic Channel’s “Southern Justice” television show which aired from 2014-2016 and followed law enforcement officers in Ashe County, N.C., and Sullivan County, Tenn.