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

Hopson arson case dismissed

Allegations of arson have been dropped against a Lyons man accused of burning down his neighbor’s home after the 2020 wildfires, though a related civil suit remains pending.

On Feb. 28, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office requested dismissal of charges against William “Dale” Hopson, 50, after prosecutors determined they could not achieve a conviction.

Deputy District Attorney David Wilson told The Canyon Weekly, in light of the evidence, they were not confident they could convince a jury.

“In this case, it became clear that the state would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dale Hopson committed the crime of arson, so it would have been unjust to continue the prosecution,” said Wilson.

The Canyon Weekly has reached out to Hopson’s defense attorney Marc Gunn for comment but had yet to hear back by presstime.

Hopson was scheduled to stand trial March 7 in Marion County Circuit Court on charges of first-degree arson and first-degree burglary. 

Hopson faced up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Hopson was charged after the home of his neighbors, Connie and Herman Frieden, burned down Sept. 9, 2020, along North Fork Road. This was just two days after the Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires devastated the region.

Prosecutors were prepared to argue Hopson allegedly used the wildfires as cover to settle a grudge against the Friedens.

The Friedens and property owner Ajay Property Management LLC have sued Hopson in Marion County Circuit Court for $438,000. A status conference was held March 15. Hopson has denied wrongdoing.

The Friedens’ attorney, Robert Custis, said his clients had no comment on the dismissal of Hopson’s charges.

Previous Article

Serial offender gets 10 more years in prison

Next Article

Western redcedars challenged; plantings continue in Canyon

You might be interested in …

Suspect sought in armed robbery

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on a March 30 armed robbery in Lyons. Around 10:20 p.m., a male entered Lyons Market with a gun, took a cash register and got into the […]

PacifiCorp blames employees for fire damages in trial

PacifiCorp attorneys shifted blame to company employees during opening arguments in a damages trial Tuesday over the 2020 Labor Day fires. The trial began Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court in James et al vs. […]