It took a Columbus jury approximately four hours Wednesday to find Daniel Hopkins guilty of child molestation and for him to be sentenced to 20 years in prison with 15 years to serve.
Hopkins, 43, was charged last year with molesting his girlfriend's daughter, who was five years old at the time of the abuse. His trial began Monday and wrapped up about 6 p.m. Wednesday night. Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan presided over the case.
"We're just happy that he was found guilty of the charges," said Muscogee County Assistant District Attorney Doug Breault. "This wasn't the first victim. He had victimized members of his family."
Two of Hopkins' relatives testified against him during the trial. "He had molested them when they were young," Breault said.
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In order to get their testimony admitted into evidence, the state filed what's called a similar transaction motion. "It means if we can show similarity between prior acts of the defendant then they can be introduced into evidence against him."
Breault said having the ability to include Hopkins' relative's testimony greatly helped the prosecution's case against Hopkins, who was at one time employed by the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office.
The remaining five years of Hopkins' sentence will be spent on probation.