Miranda Hopkins, the Troy mother recently found guilty of manslaughter in the death of her 7-week-old son in January, is free on bail, and her two other sons have been with relatives elsewhere since her initial arrest.

Hopkins is free on a $100,000 surety bond, with her bail set at $50,000 cash. Surety is different from typical bail in that it does not require the full amount upfront.

She was taken to the Waldo County Jail on Nov. 7 following the conclusion of her weeklong trial at Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast. All 12 members of the jury pronounced her guilty of manslaughter after deliberating for several hours.

Hopkins’ two other sons are ages 6 and 8 and were described repeatedly during the trial as “profoundly autistic” and nonverbal, capable of mostly just grunting and moaning noises. One of the boys can communicate somewhat through a tablet device. Both boys attended special-needs classes.

Hopkins’ attorneys, family, and friends maintained her innocence throughout her trial and continue to do so, positing that one or both of her two other sons must have been responsible for the infant Jaxson’s death last January.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Belfast, though that date could change going forward.


On Jan. 12 this year, Hopkins called 911 from her trailer home on North Dixmont Road in Troy, saying her infant son, Jaxson, was unresponsive. The infant was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the baby’s death was listed as blunt force trauma that included cuts and bruises on the head and skull, rib fractures, and bleeding on the surface of the brain.

Hopkins, 32, was arrested the next day. She was charged originally with knowing or depraved indifference murder, punishable by 25 years to life in prison. She was indicted by a Waldo County grand jury in February on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

After the guilty verdict was rendered, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said the state wanted to see Hopkins given a long sentence. Manslaughter, a class A felony, is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Hopkins’ defense had sought to have the results of a polygraph test introduced as evidence during the trial, which they claim demonstrated a 99 percent certainty that Hopkins was telling the truth when she said she did not kill her son Jaxson.

Hopkins initially told police investigators that she woke to find Jaxson cold and stiff to the touch in her bed, but later admitted she lied after having fallen asleep on the floor in her other two sons’ room, leaving the infant on the couch in the living room. She admitted having drunk five to seven shots of whiskey that night, smoked marijuana and taken a Benadryl for congestion.

Throughout the trial, the defense argued that because the older sons were autistic, keeping a regular routine was essential. Witnesses called by the defense said that the boys could become violent at any time. The defense argued that Hopkins falling asleep drunk in the older brothers’ bedroom with Jaxson on the couch deviated from the routine.


Cathy Dionne, executive director of the Autism Society of Maine, said routine is important for families with autistic children, and removing them from their Troy home and changing schools could provide a challenge to the family watching the boys. She said at their ages, they are old enough to know that they have a routine in place, and while routines can be changed, a total move is a drastic change. She said changes to a routine should be done in small, incremental steps.

Dionne said if the children have to switch to a new school, she hopes that school is aware of whatever communication needs the boys have. Dionne said her organization recommends sticking to the children’s routine as much as possible and creating a familiar environment, which could mean getting furniture and toys from their Troy home that they are used to. She said it can be less challenging if the boys are familiar with the family they are staying with, such as if they are family members.

In a totally new environment, she said, it was possible there could be behavioral challenges to come.

“It will hugely disrupt these children,” she said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis


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