A Kern County jury found William Jack Hopkins guilty on Wednesday of kidnapping to commit rape, forcible rape, assault with the intent to commit sodomy, two counts of robbery, two counts of criminal threats and felon in possession of a firearm for an incident June 14, 2019.
According to the District Attorney's Office, Hopkins approached a man and woman victim resting in a parked car in Shafter on the day of the incident. Hopkins brandished a gun and robbed more than $100 from both people.
He then forced the man into the trunk of the car and held the woman at gunpoint, the DA's office reported. When the man escaped, Hopkins threatened to kill both victims. The man returned to the trunk.
Hopkins drove the woman through an abandoned orchard and up a canal road. He pulled over, and then tied the woman’s hands behind her back, raped and attempted to sodomize her. The perpetrator released the victim, only after saying he would “skin her” and telling her he knew where her family was.
A citizen contacted Shafter Police, who found the woman. DNA analysis linked Hopkins to the rape of the woman, according to the DA's office.
“Hopkins is a sexual predator and career criminal who will not be allowed to victimize Kern County again,” District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said in a news release. “These convictions should ensure a life sentence and keep Hopkins in prison, where he belongs.”
The jury also found Hopkins guilty of committing an assault with a firearm, attempting to steal a vehicle and other unlawful firearm charges arising from an incident on June 13, 2019.
Hopkins broke into a pickup truck at Peter’s Funeral Home on East Lerdo Highway in Shafter. Two witnesses confronted Hopkins about the break-in, when Hopkins pointed a gun at them and demanded they leave. Hopkins left, but fingerprints connected him to the attempted vehicle theft, according to the DA's office.
On June 23, 2019, Hopkins crashed a stolen pickup truck and stolen farm trailer in a Shafter reservoir. The jury delivered a guilty verdict for charges associated with this incident.
Hopkins faces multiple life sentences, which will be determined Sept. 8.