Everman man convicted for role in convenience store robbery-slaying

Posted Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Topics: War History

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A jury convicted an Everman man of aggravated robbery for his role in a Fort Worth convenience store robbery that led to the death of its 66-year-old part-owner.

The jury deliberated for two days before concluding that Jeremy Hopkins was as culpable in the robbery of Azmi Elqutob but did not bear the same level of guilt as his co-defendant, Frederick Jones. Jones, who was identified as the shooter, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in June.

Hopkins, 31, now faces a maximum 99-year prison sentence as the jury considers the appropriate punishment for his crime. Hopkins faced a life prison sentence with no chance for parole had he been convicted of capital murder.

Daniel Young, Hopkins' defense attorney, said his client provided Jones with a gun but was not aware that Jones planned to rob Smokey's Paradise convenience store in the 5300 block of East Rosedale Street. Hopkins admitted to police that he served as a lookout during the robbery, according to testimony. Hopkins told police that the intended robbery target was a marijuana salesman.

Prosecutors told the jury that Hopkins gave a loaded weapon to Jones, a man wearing a bandana across his face and gloves on his hands. Hopkins told a friend who was secretly recording him at the behest of Fort Worth police that he wiped his fingerprints from both the gun and bullets.

Hopkins borrowed the gun from a drug dealer and told his friend that he threw the weapon in the Trinity River when it was returned after the murder.

Elqutob immigrated to Fort Worth from his native Jerusalem by way of Kuwait, seemingly always fleeing warfare and combat. Elqutob, a Palestinian, left Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967 and settled in Kuwait.

The Elqutob family fled war again in 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Elqutob's daughter told the jury the family struggled in the beginning and had only recently been able to enjoy the fruits of their labor in America after the establishment of several businesses.

Elqutob was not supposed to be at work on the night he was killed, his daughter, Mimi Elqutob, 31, said. The elder Elqutob decided to work for one of his employees that day and was taking off at 2 p.m. to have dinner with a relative, she testified on Tuesday.

"He worked all the time," she said. "We all worked."

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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5300 block of East Rosedale Street, Fort Worth, TX
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