A 67-year-old Lawrence man who shot and killed his ailing wife last year was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with a chance for parole after 25 years.
Larry L. Hopkins pleaded no contest in March to first-degree murder in the death of 61-year-year-old Margaret Hopkins, his wife of 24 years.
In court Thursday, Hopkins read a four-page statement describing the years leading up to his decision “not to let Margaret wake up” the morning of Nov. 5, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
“I gave Margaret the last gift I could: I didn’t let her wake up,” Hopkins said of the Nov. 5, 2013, shooting of his wife. “I will not try to deny that I pulled the trigger, or that I made the decision not to let Margaret wake up.”
Hopkins said his wife suffered from type-2 diabetes before enduring multiple strokes, knee replacement surgeries and falls, one of which shattered her left femur.
But Douglas County assistant district attorney Andrew Bauch said Hopkins was there because he didn’t like the options that had been available to him.
“He made a unilateral decision to end his wife’s life,” Bauch said. “That’s why we have a first-degree murder case.”
Hopkins, whose own medical history includes heart problems and a stroke, had rejected a plea agreement in which the charges would have been amended to felony murder and criminal discharge of a firearm. Prosecutors would have offered in exchange to recommend a life sentence with a possibility of parole after 20 years.
Before reading Hopkins’ sentence, District Judge Michael Malone said that the law required that he impose a life sentence without parole eligibility for 25 years.
“I wish you well, sir,” Malone said.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com