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Mahanoy City man loses another appeal of life in prison sentence

Published January 11. 2012 05:01PM

A Mahanoy City man, sentenced to life imprisonment for causing the death of a man in an apartment fire in 1990, lost another battle in court to gain his freedom.

The appeal of Edward Patrick Hopkins was denied by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

The case history shows that on Jan. 19, 1990, a massive five occurred at 17-23 W. Chester St., Mahanoy City, which damaged an apartment building as well as an adjacent personal care home known as Valley Personal Care Home. One of the residents of the personal care home was Harry Kraut, who died as a result of injuries caused by the fire.

Hopkins was arrested and charged with several crimes in connection with the fire and tried in county court on Nov. 14, 1990.

A jury acquitted him of both second and third degree murder but convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, arson, endangering persons, arson endangering property and reckless burning or exploding, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Since his incarceration, Hopkins has filed continuous appeals but each one has been denied by the county court, the state's Superior Court and Supreme Court. He continues to claim his sentence "is illegal and amounts to prohibited punishment."

This was the fourth appeal denied by the higher court which held that he had failed to meet his burden of allegations and that denying relief was proper.

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