Lawyers representing a Troy woman accused of murder in the death of her infant son say she is innocent of the charge and expect her “exceptional case” to be grounds for her to make bail and be released as she awaits trial.

Miranda Hopkins, 32, is charged with knowing or depraved indifference murder in the beating death of her 7-week-old son, Jaxson. Police said in documents on file at Belfast District Court that the baby died earlier this month from blunt force head injuries that included cuts and bruises on the head and skull, rib fractures, and bleeding on the surface of the brain.

Hopkins suggested to police that the baby could have been crushed or smothered accidentally by one of her other sons, 8 and 6, both of whom are autistic, according to court documents. She did not enter a plea during her initial appearance in court Jan. 17.

“Miranda did not harm her precious baby and is already looking forward to the day when she is able to establish her innocence in court,” defense attorney Laura Shaw McDonald, an associate of Hopkins’ court-appointed defense attorney Christopher MacLean, said in an interview. “We will be asking the court to set reasonable bail conditions. Miranda is a remarkable and strong person. She is also a wonderful mother.”

Hopkins was scheduled to appear in court Monday for a bail hearing, but MacLean filed a motion to postpone the hearing to allow her more time to mount a defense. The bail hearing, called a Harnish hearing, is requested by the prosecuting attorney and could be scheduled for sometime next month.

A Harnish hearing is a process in which prosecutors seek to have a judge deny bail to a defendant accused of one of a handful of serious crimes, murder being one of them. Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, the prosecutor, must meet the burden of convincing the judge that Hopkins should not be released on bail.

McDonald, the lawyer who has met with Hopkins at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, said Hopkins is a good candidate for reasonable pre-trial bail, which is not common in murder cases.

“Miranda is an exceptional case because she has such a strong background. She has no criminal history and a positive employment history,” McDonald said in an interview. “She’s not a flight risk or a risk to the community.”

She said Hopkins has a background in nursing.

McDonald said Hopkins is feeling confident and is encouraged by the outpouring of support that she has received from her family, friends and members of the community. McDonald said they are looking forward to her release on bail so she can work more closely with them on her defense.

“We really enjoy working with Miranda; she’s a wonderful person,” McDonald said. “We are just hopeful for the opportunity to continue working with her outside of prison.”

A murder conviction in Maine is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

Police said Hopkins called 911 the morning of Jan. 12 from her trailer home on North Dixmont Road in Troy, saying her baby, Jaxson Hopkins, was unresponsive, according to Maine State Police.

In a court affidavit, Hopkins allegedly told authorities she had awakened to find her baby cold, white and “beat to hell.” The infant, who was born Nov. 21, was pronounced dead at the scene. Hopkins lived with Jaxson and two other sons, ages 6 and 8, who are both autistic, she told police. Those boys are now with relatives.

In interviews with police, Hopkins said the older boy possibly crawled into bed and crushed or suffocated the baby.

The initial emergency call came at 1:47 a.m. to the Waldo County Communications Center. A sheriff’s deputy arrived and found the baby “covered” with bruises, according to the court affidavit. The infant was cold to the touch and not breathing. Hopkins was arrested the following day, Jan. 13.

Hopkins first told police that the previous evening had been normal, that the baby was “warm and breathing at 10:30 p.m.” She said she did a “mommy check” during the night and found nothing out of the ordinary.

Her story soon began to unravel, according to the affidavit, as Hopkins conceded to police that she had drunk shots of whiskey that night. She also said that she never performed the “mommy check” that night, as she had previously stated. She said she had become “dizzy or spinny” and had lain on one of the older boys’ beds and felt she had passed out.

She told police she doesn’t remember what happened next, only that she woke up to “hell,” finding her baby cold and dead in the bed.

She described herself as being “so drunk that she did not remember,” according to the court document.

Hopkins told authorities she didn’t know exactly what happened to Jaxson, telling police she must have “blacked out,” according to the affidavit. She further described herself as being “so drunk that she did not remember,” saying she had drunk whiskey and ingested the antihistamine drug Benadryl, according to the affidavit written by Detective Jason Andrews.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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