The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 8, 2013

Carthage man faces prison term in sale of gun

— A Jasper County judge assessed a defendant three years in prison Monday in a forgery case involving the sale of a gun to a firearms dealer in Carthage.

Circuit Judge David Dally sentenced William Z. Hopper, 35, of Carthage, to the term at a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin.

Hopper had pleaded guilty to forgery May 20 in a plea deal with the county prosecutor’s office that limited the prison time that he might receive to four years and dismissed a related count of unlawful possession of a weapon as convicted felon.

Hopper was charged with the offense in January of this year following an investigation by Carthage police. Court documents indicate that he sold a 12-gauge shotgun in November of last year to the owner of William Henry’s Fine Firearms and altered the amount of the check with which he was paid from $140 to $440.

Because he has two prior felony convictions for statutory rape, Hopper was prohibited from possessing guns at the time of the sale, according to court records.

The judge ordered that the prison sentence run concurrent to whatever sentences the defendant receives in several pending cases in Newton County Circuit Court.

He is charged there with two additional counts of forgery, a single count of failure to register as a sex offender and five misdemeanor counts of theft.