News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Hopson release may be revoked ahead of trial

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

A Lyons man accused of burning down his neighbors’ home just days after the 2020 wildfires may be forced to return to jail as he awaits trial for arson.

William “Dale” Hopson, 50, was released from the Marion County Jail Feb. 3, 2021, after being charged with first-degree arson and first-degree burglary for allegedly burning down the home of neighbors Connie and Herman Frieden on Sept. 9, 2020.

Prosecutors allege Hopson burned down the house over a longstanding grudge against the Friedens. 

Hopson used the Santiam Fire, which devastated the region two days prior, as cover. He has pleaded not guilty, and has also denied liability in a related $438,000 lawsuit filed by the Friedens.

As a condition of his release, Hopson was required to report regularly to pretrial services and could not violate any laws. 

According to a Jan. 25 pretrial services report filed in Marion County Circuit Court, Hopson admitted to receiving a traffic citation, which his pretrial officer said constituted a violation of his release agreement.

As of press time, Hopson remained released and a hearing to consider the matter has not been scheduled. He is set to stand trial March 7, with a pretrial conference scheduled for March 1.

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