Everman man receives 89 years for his role in killing a convenience store owner

Posted Friday, Feb. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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FORT WORTH -- A jury sentenced an Everman resident to 89 years in prison for his role in a convenience store robbery that led to the death of the store's 66-year-old co-owner.

The jury deliberated during a span of two days before sentencing Jeremy Hopkins, who was a lookout while his friend and co-defendant Frederick Jones shot and killed Azmi Elqutob. Jones was sentenced in June to life in prison without parole. Authorities have said the robbers got a little over $200.

Hopkins, who was convicted Thursday of aggravated robbery, faced a life prison sentence with no chance for parole if he had been convicted of capital murder. Daniel Young, Hopkins' attorney, said his client provided Jones with a gun but was not aware that Jones planned to rob Smokies Food Store in the 5300 block of East Rosedale Street. Hopkins told police he thought the intended robbery target was a marijuana seller.

"It was a tough case for everyone including the jury," Young said. "But I think they did the right thing. I think the jury diligently applied the law to the facts in this case in finding that he was not guilty of capital murder. We would have liked to have fewer years but that was up to the jury. It was a decision the jury had to struggle with."

Prosecutors said Hopkins gave a loaded gun to Jones, who was wearing gloves and had a bandanna across his face. Jones walked into the store and immediately shot Elqutob twice without warning, took cash from the register and then shot Elqutob two more times as he lay on the floor, according to trial testimony.

Hopkins told a friend who was secretly recording him for Fort Worth police that he wiped his fingerprints from the gun and bullets. After Jones left the store, he gave Hopkins $40 of the cash, which he used to buy cocaine, according to testimony.

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

In her statement to the court, Mimi Elqutob, 31, the daughter of the slain man, told Hopkins that her only consolation was knowing that he could not hug his daughter for a very long time, just as she could not hug her dad.

"I hope that God can forgive you because I know I can never forgive you," she said.

During the punishment phase of the trial, jurors were told that Hopkins had prior convictions for endangering a child, dealing cocaine and assaulting a woman, according to the Tarrant County district attorney's office. Hopkins must serve 30 years before he is eligible for parole, a statement from the district attorney's office said.

A third defendant in the case, Calvin Robertson, 32, of Fort Worth, faces a pending capital murder trial and is in custody in a Louisiana correctional facility, the Tarrant County district clerk's office said.

Mitch Mitchell,

817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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