Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Technically, Robert Hopkins was found guilty of second-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree assault because he landed on and seriously injured a fan below, but this is as close as you can get to being convicted of being an idiot.

Hopkins, 29, plunged from the upper level of Ralph Wilson Stadium during a game on Nov. 17. He was banned by the team and fired from his job. Previously, only distant footage from CBS's cameras showed his fall. But stadium surveillance video introduced at trial gives us a better look—and shows Hopkins sliding down a railing four times before going over the edge on his fifth attempt (the fall happens at the 2:23 mark):

Last week Brian Doyle, a retired sheriff's deputy working on a part-time basis at the stadium the day of the incident, testified that he spoke with Hopkins soon after the fall.

Doyle had heard that Hopkins slid down the railing, and asked him if the rumor was true.

"It's true," Hopkins replied, according to Doyle. "I didn't mean to."

When the deputy turned to walk away, Hopkins added, "The funny part is, I did it like nine times."


Hopkins initially told police he was intoxicated, but retracted that at trial, claiming he only had "two or three drinks."

Hopkins's attorney argued that "he did something incredibly stupid, something he deeply regrets," and insisted it was an accident. That outraged the prosecutor:

"Accident? Accident?" he asked before the jury. "This wasn't an accident. ... This was Russian roulette with his own safety and others'. ... Like Russian roulette, just because he didn't fall the first four times doesn't mean it wasn't gonna happen on the fifth time. ... All of us can see how risky this was ... anyone apparently but the defendant and his sister.

"It was so reckless that it was outrageous."

It took 24 minutes of deliberation for a jury to find Hopkins guilty on both counts. He could face up to a year in jail on each.

[Buffalo News]

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