Inmate charged in 1990 Cambridge cold case where man was burned to death

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (WCMH) — A man who is currently in jail has been charged with aggravated murder related to a cold case that dates back 34 years.

The Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office said that a 1990 murder case has been solved and that the suspect, 60-year-old Carl “Butch” Hoopingarner, has been charged with aggravated murder. In August 1990, firefighters and deputies responded to a vehicle burning outside the former Raven Cafe on Old National Road in Cambridge Township.

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Firefighters received reports a man, 30-year-old James Bradley, was trapped inside the car as it was burning. Bradley was pronounced dead at the scene with the Guernsey County coroner at the time ruling it as a natural death from massive body burns.

More than 30 years later, Guernsey County Sheriff Jeffrey Paden reopened the case in 2021 after a tip the fire was not accidental. After two years of investigating, the sheriff’s office said they had sufficient evidence to charge Hoopingarner with aggravated murder.

Hoopingarner is already in Belmont County jail on unrelated murder and drug charges.

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