MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala.- A Marshall County jury ruled Friday the defendant Dale Hopson is guilty of murdering his wife Joyce Bates.
Hopsons spent the last four days in a courtroom on trial after he shot Bates in the head on the night of April 24, 2016, at their home in Joppa, near Arab.
News 19 is the only news outlet that had a reporter in the courtroom throughout the trial.
Friday was tense with a lot on the line for both the prosecution and defense as they began closing arguments.
Prosecutors continued to fight for justice for Bates by reminding the jury of the evidence they presented and the testimonies from each witness including investigators, forensics experts, and the defendant’s own mother.
They also reminded jurors of the six different explanations from Hopson of how the shooting happened.
“I think it was a good jury and I think they saw everything pretty clearly, “ said Marshall County District Attorney Everette Johnson.
The victim’s brother Doug Green cried at times while listening to closing arguments and after seeing an autopsy photo of Bates.
“It’s been almost five years so it’s been kind of trying on the whole family,” explained Green.
The defense did not back down, though.
Hopson’s public defender Enza D. Giles hammered home the fact that no one other than Hopson and Bates were at their home at the time of the shooting and that no one knew his client’s state of mind at the time.
He told jurors the prosecution had not met the burden of proof.
“It’s not the outcome that we wanted but I do believe in the jury process. The jury did it’s job and we have to accept its verdict. Obviously he’s disappointed but he has his head up, walking with his head up. We’re just moving forward. It’s just one step at a time,” said Giles.
The jury took about an hour deliberating before finding Hopson guilty of murdering his wife.
“We were happy and felt like it was fair and felt like it was what it should have been but nothing is going to bring my sister back. It felt good though because he’s a person that doesn’t need to be out,” said Green. “She didn’t deserve what she got. We all miss her,” he added.
He said he believes his sister was caught up in a domestic violence situation.
“I don’t think there’s ever a happy moment but I think they feel better today than they have in a long while and feel like justice has been obtained for Joyce,” added DA Johnson.
Giles said Hopson plans to appeal but for now, awaits his sentencing hearing scheduled for May 3, 2021.