The Norman Transcript

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June 19, 2013

Defendant found guilty in manslaughter trial

NORMAN — After only a few hours of deliberating, a Cleveland County jury found Cole Hopper guilty of manslaughter Tuesday afternoon. The jury has recommended a sentence of nine years.

Hopper, 21, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for shooting 19-year-old Kelsey Bransby and not seeking medical attention to prevent her death.

As the verdict was read aloud in the courtroom, defense attorney David Smith hung his head and shook it back and forth with a look of disappointment.

Hopper didn’t seem too upset about the verdict, however, when he smiled for the camera after he was put into custody and escorted down the courthouse hallway in handcuffs.

Dean Hopper, Cole’s father, said he thought the verdict was unfair and it should be declared a mistrial.

“I don’t think it was handled fairly by the DA or by the jury,” he said.

District Attorney Greg Mashburn said they were pleased with the outcome of the case. The Oklahoma City Police Department put a lot of work into the investigation that helped prosecute and hold Hopper accountable for actions that took Bransby’s life, Mashburn said.

“This was a hard-fought case,” Mashburn said.

Bransby’s father and grandmother, Mike Bransby and Flora Lyman, said they thought the trial was handled fairly. They said they were happy with the guilty verdict but hoped for a longer sentence such as the 19 years recommended by the district attorney.

The jury’s recommended sentence was reduced 10 years from the prosecutor’s recommendation. Those found guilty of manslaughter in Oklahoma are required to serve 80 percent of their sentence before being eligible for release.

Police found Bransby by herself, struggling to breathe, with a gunshot wound near her left eye on Oct. 27, 2011, in an apartment in south Oklahoma City. She was transported to a hospital and died the next day.

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