Atlantic Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney John Hope, 56, was found dead Tuesday morning in his Wilmington Island backyard, according to Gena Moore, public information officer for the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department.
On Monday, Hope handled the arraignment of murder suspect Kenneth Lumpkin at the Liberty County Jail Complex on Airport Road. The ADA had been employed with the Atlantic Judicial Circuit since August 2006.
According to DA Tom Durden, Hope was due in Liberty County Superior Court Tuesday morning.
“When he did not appear for court, people started worrying about him because that is not like John,” Durden said.
The DA said they tried calling Hope’s cell and home numbers but got no answer. Hope’s coworkers placed a welfare-check call to the Savannah-Chatham County Metropolitan Police Department.
“At 10 a.m. this morning, a welfare check was called in on him and the officers found him in the backyard,” Moore said. “There are no obvious signs of foul play, and they will be conducting an autopsy on him to determine the cause of death at the medical examiner’s office in Savannah.”
“It’s a great shock to all of us,” Durden said. “Our condolences go out to his family and to all his friends. John brought a lot of experience to the courtroom for us. He did a fine job for us and he will be missed professionally and personally.”
The DA said his office will begin to sort through Hope’s case files in the next few days and do the best they can to keep cases moving forward. It is not known yet how Hope’s death will affect the Lumpkin murder trial.