Career criminal gets life for Shafter rape and kidnapping

Crime Watch

William Jack Hopkins

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — William Jack Hopkins embarked on a crime spree in June 2019 in which he kidnapped and raped a woman, threatened multiple people with a gun and crashed a stolen pickup, authorities say.

At the time of his arrest, Hopkins had already served seven prior prison terms and had violated parole 24 times. Court records show cases against him stretching as far back as 1993.

Hopkins, 46, likely won’t get another chance to violate parole.

Superior Court Judge John R. Brownlee sentenced him Wednesday to life with a minimum eligible parole date of seven years, plus 15 years to life, plus 60 years and four months.

A jury in July convicted Hopkins of rape, kidnapping, robbery and other offenses.

The most serious charges against stemmed from events that occurred June 14, 2019, when Hopkins approached a man and woman in a vehicle, pulled a gun and demanded money, according to prosecutors. He robbed them of hundreds of dollars and ordered the man into the trunk as he walked away with the woman.

The man used an emergency escape latch to open the trunk. Hopkins heard him and threatened to kill him and the woman if he didn’t stay put, prosecutors said. The man got back inside, and Hopkins ordered the woman into a pickup.

Hopkins drove through orchards and made his way to a canal road where he tied the woman’s wrists behind her back and raped her, according to prosecutors.

He then drove her to another orchard. He released her, threatened to “skin her” if she said anything, and said he knew where her family lived, according to prosecutors.

DNA evidence linked him to the rape, prosecutors said.

The day before, two men confronted Hopkins as he broke into a pickup at Peters Funeral Home on East Lerdo Highway, according to the District Attorney’s office. Hopkins drew a gun and demanded they leave.

Hopkins escaped but fingerprint evidence connected him to the attempted theft, prosecutors said. That month he also crashed a stolen pickup and farm trailer in a reservoir in Shafter.

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