Freezer Murder: History of Domestic Violence

By Jessica Taloney

August 16, 2008

[with link to the Jackson police report]

A shallow grave marks the spot where investigators believe a travelling preacher buried his wife before digging her back up and stuffing her body in a freezer.

The hole, partially covered by planks of wood lies just a few hundred feet behind a Jackson, Alabama church Anthony Hopkins, 37, and his family frequently attended.

Prosecutors say Hopkins and his family lived in Jackson in 2000 and 2001 before moving the Mobile. News Five obtained an exclusive copy of a police report filed while the couple lived in the small town. In the report, Anthony claimed he was attacked by Arletha while he was trying to leave for work, calling his wife "belligerent" and claiming she scratched him. The report was filed in July 2001, just one year after police say Anthony Hopkins began raping his daughter.

Investigators believe Hopkins murdered his wife, Arletha Hopkins, in 2004 at their home on Rylands Street, after she caught him sexually abusing one of the couple's eight children.

The daughter, who police say Hopkins began raping when she was 11 years old, told investigators her dad first hid her mom's body in a wooded area in Semmes before asking her to help bury the body in Jackson. According to a detective, who testified during Hopkins' preliminary hearing, the daughter watched as her dad dug the hole, then helped lift her mom's body to put it in the shallow grave.

Police say the autopsy, which is still not complete, should reveal how long Arletha was buried before Hopkins and his daughter dug her body up and moved it to a freezer at their home in Mobile.

Anthony Hopkins was arrested July 28th and is charged with murder, rape, sodomy, incest and sexual abuse. So far, no charges have been filed against Hopkins in Jackson, but Police Chief Charles Burge says they will begin their investigation after they receive a report from Mobile Police.


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