The Norman Transcript


June 29, 2013

Cole Hopper sentenced to 9 years in manslaughter trial



“I miss her so much,” she said, describing how much she used to enjoy shopping and visiting with her only granddaughter.

She also mentioned how Bransby’s death has affected her mother, who was present in court. She said Bransby’s mother told her she is filled with sorrow every day.

In addition to her family, Bransby truly cared about her friends, and she loved Hopper, she said.

Hopper’s grandfather’s testimony followed, describing how much he and his family knew and loved Bransby. He turned around to face Bransby’s family members and tell them he was terribly sorry for their loss.

However, just as Bransby’s grandmother hoped her granddaughter wouldn’t be defined by her drug usage, he hoped his grandson wouldn’t be defined by his wrongdoings.

“(Hopper) exercised poor judgment,” he said. “While he is very passionate and very smart, he made poor decisions, and hopefully throughout his sentence he can receive some kind of psychological education to help him improve.”

“In closing, we love Cole and we’d like to have him back with the family,” he said.

Brandi Smith, case manager for the Cleveland County Detention Center, testified that Hopper attended every class offered while in jail.

“Some inmates come in and do nothing but try to feel sorry for themselves,” she said.

But Hopper has been taking advantage of the opportunities the detention center offers and has shown remorse for what happened, she said.

Before giving the sentence, sentencing judge Tracy Schumacher pointed out that Hopper’s jury was the youngest she had ever seen — four out of the 12 jurors were under 25 — which is very unusual for a Cleveland County jury.

“You truly had a jury of your peers,” she said, looking at Hopper.

However, Hopper was found to have been irresponsible with guns and was “so devoid of a moral compass” he left Bransby to die after she was shot, she said.

So much of this case could have been solved by Hopper simply apologizing from the beginning and telling the truth, she said.

“But we’ll never know what that was,” she said and delivered his sentence.

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