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Court roundup

Hopson protects records in lawsuit

A Lyons man accused in civil court of burning down his neighbor’s home in 2020 will not have to produce records of funds raised for his legal defense in a now-dismissed criminal case.

The ruling was issued Oct. 24 in Marion County Circuit Court in Frieden et al vs. Hopson after a hearing on the matter Oct. 11.

Plaintiffs sought bank records related to a GoFundMe campaign set up in 2021 by William “Dale” Hopson’s wife to support legal fees for related arson charges, which were dismissed in February. According to, $650 was donated to the campaign.

Hopson argued the record request violated his privacy and had no bearing on the case. After the hearing, Judge Bennett Channing upheld these arguments.

No future hearing or trial dates are set in the case.

Hopson was sued Aug. 30, 2022, by Connie and Herman Frieden and their landlord Ajay Property Management LLC for $438,000. They claim Hopson allegedly burned down the Friedens’ home Sept. 9, 2020, over a personal feud and used the recent Santiam Fire as cover.

Hopson denies wrongdoing and has asked for the suit to be dismissed.

30 months for property crimes

A Turner man accused of vandalizing property owned by the Lyons Post Office has been sentenced to 30 months in prison in a plea deal for this case and a separate vehicle theft.

David Louie Surratt Jr., 23, pleaded guilty Oct. 20 in Linn County Circuit Court to first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

He was charged in November of 2022 for siphoning less than $100 in gas that October at the Lyons Post Office. The theft resulted in several hundred dollars in damage and, as part of his sentence, Surratt was ordered to pay $981 in restitution to the post office.

While this case was pending, Surratt was found in possession of a stolen vehicle Aug. 25 and new charges were filed. 

The plea deal also included a conviction for failure to appear in a third case and a probation violation in a fourth, and the dismissal of a fifth case for alleged firearm theft. Surratt also has numerous pending property crimes cases in Marion and Polk counties.


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