2021 News Releases

Cherokee County man sentenced to life in prison for 2020 murders

Release Date: Dec 27, 2021

COLUMBUS – (December 27, 2021) – A Cherokee County man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murders of two individuals in 2020, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

Mark Hopkins II, 30, of Columbus was sentenced by Senior Judge Robert Fleming in Cherokee County District Court. Hopkins was sentenced to life in a Kansas Department of Corrections facility without the possibility of parole for 50 years. Hopkins last month pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree premeditated murder.

The crime occurred in June 2020, resulting in the deaths of Blaze Swank and Kylan Shook in Cherokee County. The case was investigated by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Related charges against another defendant remain pending. Charges are merely accusations; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Vic Braden and Assistant Attorney General Shannon Rush of Schmidt’s office.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.