MASON CITY – A Mason City man pleaded who guilty to felony willful injury after stabbing a man during a fight at a local park lost his appeal.
According to police, on June 16th, 2013, at approximately 3:10 pm, police officers were dispatched to Morgan Timberland Park (near 6th Street SW and South Van Buren Avenue) on a report of several males fighting. One of them was reported to have a knife.
Officers arrived and observed Anthony Earl Hopkins, 42, walking away from the location carrying an opened bottle of liquor while other subjects were also leaving the park on foot. Officers arrested Hopkins for public intoxication. Officers also learned that a male was at the hospital being treated for apparent knife-wounds related to the altercation at Timberland Park. Officers spoke to potential witnesses and searched the area for evidence.
Police charged Hopkins with Willful Injury (a Class D Felony) later that evening.
When asked to explain the event, Hopkins stated in court, “Well, it was a confrontation on a Father’s Day picnic, which I was approached by a guy [Reginald Ingram] and at the time I felt threatened. Well, the confrontation happened and the guy ended up sustaining an injury caused by me.” Hopkins confirmed he had a knife at the time of the confrontation and Ingram sustained a cut by the knife. The State added, “[Ingram] was cut. I believe there are photographs attached to the trial information and minutes too. He was cut by the knife in the chest, in the heart area, and by my counting, it looks like 12 or 13 stitches.” Hopkins agreed with the State’s statement.
After a number of continuances, Hopkins pleaded guilty and was sentenced on May 9, 2014. Judge Annette Boehlje sentenced Hopkins to a 5 year suspended prison sentence, a suspended fine of $750 and three years of probation.
Hopkins appealed the sentence. He argued that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. Specifically, he maintained counsel was ineffective for allowing him to plead guilty without a factual basis and for failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment to challenge the plea.
However, the Iowa Court of Appeals concluded Hopkins’ trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance, and affirmed his sentence.