By News-Register staff • 

Street racing co-defendant Hopper sentenced to 12 years in prison

Marcus Larson/News-Register##Jeremy Hopper II listens as Judge Andrew Erwin sentences him to 12 years in prison Thursday morning in Yamhill County Circuit Court. Defense attorneys Amanda Marshall, left, and Brent Goodfellow follow along.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Jeremy Hopper II listens as Judge Andrew Erwin sentences him to 12 years in prison Thursday morning in Yamhill County Circuit Court. Defense attorneys Amanda Marshall, left, and Brent Goodfellow follow along.

Judge Andrew Erwin sentenced Jeremy Hopper II to 12 years in prison Thursday morning for his role in last May's street racing head-on crash that killed a McMinnville man and injured two others.

Erwin, a Washington County judge, was assigned the case because Melissa Gates, the mother of injured victim Natasha Fisher, is a Yamhill County Circuit Court employee.

"I hope while you are in prison, you will learn what it takes to be a man, how to respect all others and how to take responsibility for your actions," Gates told Hopper.

A 12-member jury  needed only 30 minutes to deliberate last month and find the 24-year-old Amity man guilty of one count each of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, second-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree assault and reckless driving, in addition to three counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Kristen Hoffmeyer of the state Department of Justice was handed the case when Alicia Eagan left the county as a Deputy District Attorney. McMinnville attorneys Brent Goodfellow and Amanda Marshall formed Hopper's defense team.

The six men and six women jury voted 11-1 to find Hopper guilty on a fourth and fifth count of recklessly endangering. It voted 12-0 to acquit him on the sixth and final count.

Erwin imposed a 120-month sentence on the first-degree manslaughter charge and a 70-month term on the second-degree assault charge, but only ran 24 months consecutive to the 10-year sentence.

The sentence also included 36 months on post-prison supervision when Hopper is released from custody and a lifetime revocation of his driver's license. A restitution hearing will be held in May, and he will attend the proceeding.

Hoffmeyer recommended a 14-year sentence. Marshall lobbied for a term of about six years.

The manslaughter charge reflects the death of Claudio Martinez, 43, of McMinnville. The second-degree assault charge addresses the permanently disabling injuries suffered by Fisher, 19, of McMinnville, who remains hospitalized. The fourth-degree assault charge reflects injuries suffered by Bonifacio Martinez, 34, of McMinnville, still recovering from serious injuries of his own.

Charges of recklessly endangering were related to Hopper putting other individuals in harm’s way as a result of the incident. Second-degree criminal mischief reflects a form of property damage related to the vehicle driven by Claudio Martinez.

A packed courtroom attended the proceeding that lasted more than an hour.

Supporters of Hopper sat on one side. Many wore "Justice for J2" wristbands.

Family members and friends of Fisher, Claudio Martinez and Bonifacio Martinez filled the other side. Some wore T-shirts with the words "You Are My Hero" on the front and "Prayers For Natasha," accompanied by a photo of her on the back.

The charges arose from a  high-speed street race pitting Hopper against 23-year-old Andrew Olsen of Lafayette. The two were racing late-model Mitsubishi Lancer Evo sports cars at speeds estimated at 100 mph when Hopper lost control and slammed into an oncoming van.

Claudio and Bonifacio Martinez, friends and co-workers who were not related, were riding in the van. Fisher was riding with Hopper, her then-boyfriend.

Olsen’s car was not involved in the crash. He stopped and cooperated with authorities.

Instead of going to trial, he pleaded guilty earlier to one count of criminally negligent homicide, a lesser included offense of first-degree manslaughter, and two counts of third-degree assault.

Olsen is slated for sentencing at 3 p.m. Friday, March 31, by Multnomah County Judge Eric Bergstrom. His pleas will send him to prison for between 5 and 7 1/2 years.

See Friday's print edition for additional details.

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS