Jury convicts Everman man of aggravated robbery in convenience store slaying

Posted Friday, Feb. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- A 31-year-old Everman man was convicted of aggravated robbery Thursday for his role in a Fort Worth convenience store holdup that ended in the death of the store's 66-year-old part-owner.

Tarrant County prosecutors had asked the jury to find Jeremy Hopkins guilty of capital murder, the charge of which his co-defendant, Frederick Jones, was convicted in June.

Jones is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole, which is what prosecutors were hoping for in Hopkins' case.

The maximum sentence on the aggravated robbery charge is 99 years in prison with parole possible.

The punishment phase of the trial began immediately and ended Thursday, and the jurors began deliberations. They are to continue this morning.

Jones was convicted of shooting Azmi Elqutob on June 1, 2011, while robbing Smokey's Paradise convenience store in the 5300 block of East Rosedale Street.

Hopkins admitted that he borrowed the gun Jones used from a drug dealer and was a lookout during the robbery. He told police that he thought Jones' intended robbery target was a marijuana salesman.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Hopkins gave the loaded weapon to Jones, who was wearing gloves and a bandanna pulled up on his face. They played a recording in which Hopkins told a friend that he wiped his fingerprints from the gun and bullets. Hopkins said he threw the weapon in the Trinity River after the slaying.

Elqutob, a Palestinian architect, left his native Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967 and settled in Kuwait. The family fled again in 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Elqutob's daughter, Mimi Elqutob, told the jury that 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 the night he was killed, Mimi Elqutob testified.

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

The trial is in Judge George Gallagher's 396th State District Court.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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5300 block of East Rosedale Street, Fort Worth, TX
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