Affidavit: Murdered Wife Saw Too Much

By Robert McClendon
July 31, 2008

Anthony Hopkins killed his wife in 2004 after she caught him sexually abusing one of their daughters, according to a court document used to obtain a warrant to search his house. The day after he is alleged to have killed her, he asked the daughter to help him hide her mother's body in a freezer, the document says.

The 2004 incident wasn't the first time the daughter had been abused by Hopkins, according to the document, which alleges that her father had been raping her since she was 11 years old, though it was never reported.

The body of her mother, Arletha Hopkins, apparently stayed in that freezer, under the same roof as the daughter, her seven siblings and their father, until police discovered the body there Monday night after searching the family's central Mobile house, Chief Phillip Garrett said Wednesday on a national cable television crime talk show.

Hopkins has been charged with murder, as well as several sexual abuse charges, including rape and sodomy.

He will face a bond hearing tomorrow, but prosecutors said they plan to ask he be held until trial without bail.

District Attorney John Tyson said more charges could be forthcoming against the father as the investigation continues.

Although police said they are confident that the body in the freezer is that of Arletha Hopkins, they have not been able to make a positive identification or determine an exact cause of death because of the corpse's condition after years of sub-freezing temperatures.

It's unclear exactly how Hopkins was able to keep his wife's death a secret.

Police spokeswoman Nancy Johnson declined to say where Arletha Hopkins' family lived, saying only that they didn't live in the area, and they were completely unaware of their daughter's fate when contacted by investigators.

Hopkins' background remains somewhat a mystery, as investigators have concentrated on other aspects of the case, Johnson said.

It is known, however, that Hopkins acted as an evangelist, a roving preacher who never stayed in one place for very long, though he had lived the Rylands Street home, where the body was found, since 2004.

In addition to his preaching, he also worked at Boconco Incorporated, a Bayou La Batre shipyard. The company's owner, Rusty Bosarge, declined through his secretary to comment on Hopkins' role at the business. She said Wednesday that he didn't work there any longer. Neighbors said the children were not allowed to talk to outsiders or play with other children on the block.

Tyson said the children were home schooled, though it's unclear whether they ever received anything resembling a traditional education. They had little to no access to anybody outside the house, he said.

"These kids had no contact with anybody who could offer them protection," Tyson said.

Alabama law does not require a third party to check in on home schooled students, a policy that Tyson said might need to be reconsidered in the light of this case.

According to the search warrant document, the daughter who finally alerted authorities to her father's alleged behavior didn't leave home until about two weeks ago. Her testimony was the primary evidence cited in the affidavit that allowed police to search Hopkins' home.

As police were making their entry into the house, an anonymous one-story structure of brick and wood, Hopkins, a roving evangelist, was conducting a revival at a small church on the outskirts of Jackson, Ala.

He was arrested after delivering a sermon on forgiveness, much of which was directed toward his seven other children who sat dutifully in the front pew, according to the pastor of the church.


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