Man convicted of rape and robbery in Shafter

Crime Watch

William Jack Hopkins

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County jury has found a man guilty of charges including rape, kidnapping and robbery for multiple incidents that occurred in Shafter in June 2019.

William Jack Hopkins, 46, faces multiple life sentences at his Sept. 8 sentencing. He was convicted Wednesday on a total of 13 felonies and acquitted on two charges, according to court records.

Prosecutors say Hopkins approached a man and woman in a vehicle on June 14, 2019, and produced a gun and demanded money. 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 and Hopkins, hearing this, turned around and threatened to kill both victims if the man didn’t remain in the trunk, according to prosecutors. The man got back inside and Hopkins left with the woman in a pickup.

Hopkins drove her through orchards and up a canal road where he tied her wrists behind her back and raped her, according to the District Attorney’s office. He then drove her to another orchard and released her after telling her he would “skin her,” and he knew where her family lived, prosecutors say.

DNA evidence linked Hopkins to the rape, prosecutors say.

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

Hopkins escaped but fingerprint evidence connected him to the attempted theft, according to prosecutors.

Lastly, Hopkins on June 23, 2019, crashed a stolen pickup and farm trailer in a reservoir in Shafter, prosecutors say.

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