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— Hopkins, born April 26, 1983, has a court record. Current court documents regarding Hopkins refer to “juvenile adjudications.”

The first adult convictions appear in the public record in December 2001, when Hopkins was 18 years old; these are listed as California Penal Codes 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury, and 1192.7(c)(8), indicating that the assault conviction would count on Hopkins’s record as a strike under the Three Strikes law.

In November 2003, Hopkins was arrested and charged with possessing and being under the influence of heroin. He pled guilty to one charge of possession, a felony. Probation was granted on January 23, 2004. Five months later, on June 29, 2004, probation was revoked due to violation of the conditions of probation, and a bench warrant was issued.

The superior court in Vista also has files with the name of the victim, William Baker Jr. These date back to 2004. Baker’s most recent legal troubles are listed in a felony complaint filed on September 7, 2006, when Baker was charged with possessing heroin, a hypodermic needle and syringe, and drug paraphernalia. On September 19, 2006, he signed a no contest plea to felony possession of heroin.

Law enforcement officials recovered the backpack allegedly stolen from Baker. Sergeant Martinez declined to reveal if the backpack contained heroin or drugs. According to the sergeant, Hopkins would not say if he knew the stabbing victim or if he and Baker had arranged to meet that afternoon at the Shell station.

Hopkins’s first appearance in court on charges of murder and robbery was on Friday, May 16, two days after the alleged murder. Jack Campbell from the Public Defender’s Office had been assigned as Hopkins’s lawyer. Looking alert if not downright defiant, Hopkins appeared taller and heavier in court than the five feet nine inches and 160 pounds that sheriff’s records give as his description.

On May 29, at a readiness hearing, Hopkins appeared more contrite and humbled. When deputies brought him into the courtroom, dressed in a bright orange jail jumpsuit and shackled at the waist and wrists, he made a kiss toward three people who described themselves as “friends and family.”

“It’s really, really sad that something like that would happen in Fallbrook,” says Celine Weiler, the Good Samaritan. “It’s really a peaceful place. It’s really a family-oriented community.”

It’s ten days after the stabbing. Weiler is sitting in the modest office of her fiancée’s car lot. Heavy gray storm clouds move in over us, unusually threatening weather for May. Later, funnel clouds and hail will be reported in neighboring Temecula, and the green avocado groves of Fallbrook’s farming community will bend and sway under thrashing wind and rain.

Weiler says a sheriff’s deputy told her and Cornejo there was nothing they could have done to save Baker’s life. The wound was too severe.

Another readiness hearing is scheduled for June 23, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 7. Hopkins is being held in lieu of $5 million bail.

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1904 June 21, 2008 @ 12:12 p.m.

Why was the driver of the "getaway" car released? The last time I checked, it was a felony for failure to yeild at the very least.


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