A Troy woman initially charged with murder in connection with the death of her infant son in January instead has been indicted by a Waldo County grand jury on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

“Miranda was indicted by a grand jury today on charges of manslaughter only,” attorney Laura Shaw McDonald, one of her court appointed lawyers, said Tuesday. “Miranda is not guilty of manslaughter, just as she is not guilty of murder.”

Bail was set by a judge at $5,000 cash or $50,000 worth of real estate. Hopkins was set to be able to post bail later Tuesday. “We expect to see her at our office as soon as tonight,” Shaw said Tuesday afternoon. “Miranda and her family are elated that she will be getting out even sooner than anticipated. We are looking forward to seeing her tonight and to continue working with her on her case.”

An indictment is not a finding of guilt but is a determination by the grand jury that there’s enough evidence in a case to proceed with trial.

Hopkins, 32, originally was charged with knowing or depraved indifference murder, punishable by 25 years to life in prison, related to the death Jan. 12 of 7-week-old Jaxson Hopkins. Manslaughter is a class A felony, as is a charge of murder, but it carries a lesser penalty. It’s punishable by a period of time in prison not to exceed 30 years.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who is prosecuting the case, on Tuesday would say only that the “grand jury indicted on (a) charge they deemed appropriate,” declining to comment further.


In a court affidavit, the baby’s cause of death is listed as 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 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 allegedly said the older boy possibly crawled into bed and crushed or suffocated the baby.

But Hopkins allegedly also told police she must have “blacked out” and was “so drunk that she did not remember,” saying she had drunk whiskey and ingested the antihistamine drug Benadryl, according to a police affidavit filed with the court.

Hopkins was arrested by Maine State Police on Jan. 13 at her mobile home at 211 North Dixmont Road in Troy. Police allege the infant had died the previous day.

Under state law, in a manslaughter case, a person is charged with “recklessly, or with criminal negligence, (causing) the death of another human being” or with intentionally or knowingly causing the death “under circumstances that do not constitute murder because the person causes the death while under the influence of extreme anger or extreme fear brought about by adequate provocation.”


Shaw said the grand jury found no evidence of murder and is confident that Hopkins will be cleared of all charges in the death of her baby.

“The result clearly showed that the grand jury found no support whatsoever for the state’s claim that Miranda murdered her baby,” Shaw said. “The grand jury decided to indict her on manslaughter charges but she is not guilty of manslaughter, either. Although the charge has changed from murder to manslaughter, she maintains her innocence.”

Shaw said bail will be arraigned and Hopkins will be released from Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. She said Hopkins will stay with family members, but added that she is uncertain whether or when Hopkins will be reunited with her two other children.

Hopkins had been ordered held without bail, as is customary for a murder charge in Maine. She did not enter a plea Jan. 17 during her initial appearance in court.

A bail hearing, called a Harnish hearing, had been set for Jan. 23 in Belfast District Court; but her court-appointed defense attorney, Christopher MacLean, filed a motion to postpone the hearing to give them more time to mount a defense. 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.

On Tuesday, Shaw, MacLean’s associate, said a Harnish hearing was no longer necessary because the murder charge was changed to manslaughter.


Under Maine law, after being arrested, defendants have an automatic right to have bail set, Shaw said. But when a defendant is charged with murder, the state can ask for a Harnish hearing to have that automatic right to bail taken away.

“Because Miranda was indicted for manslaughter, but not murder, she is now automatically entitled to bail,” Shaw said.

According to her Facebook page, Hopkins attended Mount View High School in Thorndike and is a single mother. Last March, she posted a notice about developing a Facebook group for people “personally affected by a Special Needs child” that would be a “judgment free safe zone.”

Shaw said Hopkins’ arraignment on the manslaughter charge tentatively is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367



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