The Norman Transcript

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June 29, 2013

Cole Hopper sentenced to 9 years in manslaughter trial

NORMAN — Cole Hopper was formally sentenced to nine years with 85 percent serving time for manslaughter after delivering an emotionally charged testimony and apology to the victim’s family in Cleveland County District court Friday.

Throughout his trial, which lasted from June 13 to 18, the court never heard from Hopper, but at his formal sentencing Friday he stood up and addressed the court with a tear-filled apology and request for forgiveness.

Hopper, 21, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for shooting 19-year-old Kelsey Bransby and leaving her to die in October, 2011.

Bransby was found alone with a gunshot wound in her head in an apartment in south Oklahoma City that nigh. She died the next day in the hospital. Hopper, a close friend of Kelsey’s, was one of the two other people in the room when she was shot, and though he pleaded innocent, the jury found him guilty of shooting her and recommended a nine-year sentence.

At his formal sentencing Friday, Hopper stood up, removed his glasses and took a few moments to control his emotions before he said through tears, “Look, I loved Kelsey very much, and I never intended what happened to her.”

He apologized to Bransby’s family present in court, saying if there was anything he could do for them, he would do it.

“What I hope and pray for most is that we can find forgiveness in ourselves so we can find peace,” he said.

Hopper’s testimony followed three emotion-filled testimonies from his grandfather, the victim’s grandmother and the case manager at the Cleveland County Detention Center where he’s been staying.

Both Hopper and Bransby’s grandparents said they hoped their testimonies would redeem the character of their grandchildren, whose lifestyles had not been portrayed positively throughout the trial.

Bransby’s grandmother said several witnesses had described Bransby’s drug addiction, but there was more to her than her drug usage — she was a loving daughter and granddaughter.

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