Hopkins' Daughter Testifies in Freezer Murder Trial
By Jessica Taloney
2:00 p.m. Arletha Hopkins' stepmother told jurors she tried to talk to Arletha between the time prosecutors believe she was killed and the time her body was found nearly four years later.
Mary Best told jurors she didn't know where the Hopkins family lived after they moved from Wadley, Georgia. She says the family visited her in 2003.
Best insists she called Arletha several times in the months after December 2004, the time prosecutors believe Arletha was killed, but after a few months of trying Arletha's phone was cut off.
12:30 p.m. Hopkins' 19 year old step daughter was the fourth person to take the stand Wednesday.
The teenager testified about the night her mother, Arletha Hopkins, died. She said she heard her mom yelling "take me to the hospital. Don't let me die." The 19 year old told jurors she didn't call for help because she was scared. She said she was afraid her dad would go to jail, and her family would be split up.
11:00 a.m. One of Anthony Hopkins' biological daughters testified Wednesday morning, telling jurors about her mom, who she described as "helpful."
The 14 year old recalled her parents, Anthony and Arletha Hopkins, "fussing" and said she remembers the night her mom and dad got into a fight at the family's home on Rylands Street.
The child testified that she had not seen her mom since she returned home from the hospital a week earlier, but according to her testimony, she could hear her mom yelling in her parent's bedroom.
Hopkins' daughter says she stayed in her bedroom all night until her father came to her room the next morning. "He said everything was going to be alright," she testified. The child told jurors her father told her mom had run away, and he instructed her to tell people her mom was at work if anyone asked about her.
On cross examination, the child admitted her mom and her oldest sister did not get along. She recalled an incident when her mom used a knife to unlock a bathroom door when her sister was inside. The child says her mom and sister were yelling.
The young girl, who is now in the 8th grade, said she did not attend school growing up, but she didn't know why.
Jurors also heard from the Chairman of the OBGYN department at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Kathy Porter testified she delivered the Hopkins' youngest child on November 21, 2004. Arletha Hopkins did not show up for her follow up appointments on November 30 and December 7.
9:45 a.m. Testimony continued this morning in the murder and rape trial of a traveling preacher accused of killing his wife and stuffing her body in a freezer.
Anthony Hopkins, 39, is accused of raping his step daughter repeatedly for eight years. Prosecutors say the long term sexual abuse was the motive for killing his wife, Arletha.
Bro. Darryl McCoy, who pastors Trumpet of Zion Church in Gulfport, was the first witness to testify Wednesday.
McCoy's testimony was very limited, as Defense Attorney Jeff Deen won multiple objections regarding clergy privilege.
Prosecutors hoped McCoy could cooberate Hopkins' step-daughter's testimony Tuesday when she told jurors her mother caught Anthony "touching" her in a bathroom at the family's home. Instead of reporting the abuse to police, she said her mother went to a family pastor.
Circuit Court Judge John Lockett forbid McCoy from testifying about anything he said or did in his role as a pastor.
McCoy's testimony was limited to telling jurors that Arletha Hopkins came to him about a problem with her oldest daughter. He testified that he met with Anthony Hopkins and Arletha's daughter, but he was not allowed to divulge details of the meeting.
Hopkins was arrested in July 2008 after police found his wife's body in a freezer at the family's home on Rylands Street. Hopkins was preaching at a revival in Jackson, Alabama when sheriff's deputies took him into custody.
According to court documents obtained by News Five in 2008, Hopkins' daughter lead police to her mother's body. Arletha Hopkins, 36, had never been reported missing, but investigators believe she had been dead since December 2004, shortly after she gave birth to the couple's youngest child. A cause of death was never determined because the body was so badly decomposed, according to Asst. District Attorney Ashley Rich.
Anthony Hopkins' daughter, who was 19 when she went to police, told jurors her father began raping her when she was 11 years old. Several months after Hopkins was arrested, his teenage daughter gave birth to a baby.