A 67-year-old Lawrence man was booked into Douglas County Jail on Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of the woman he lived with.
Larry Leon Hopkins was arrested following interviews with Lawrence police investigating the shooting death of a woman at a house in the 1600 block of West Second Terrace. Police responded to a report of a shooting at 8:45 a.m.
Police said they detained for questioning a man who lives in the same house as the woman. Speaking at the scene, Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman, described the man as cooperative.
The man was taken to the Lawrence Police Department’s Investigations and Training Center for an interview, after which he was arrested.
Police say investigators prepared an affidavit to be forwarded to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office for formal charging. A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said that charges are expected to be filed by 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Police would not release the identity of the woman found dead, but McKinley said investigators determined that she and the man had a domestic relationship. Property records show that the home is owned by Margaret E. and Larry L. Hopkins. The Douglas County Jail booking log showed Hopkins booked into the jail at 1:04 p.m.
Although police would not describe the relationship between the two, neighbors described a relationship that appears to be a marriage.
Next door neighbor Don Pierce said he is relatively new to the neighborhood but has known the neighbors well enough to say hello to “Larry” and “Margaret.” Pierce said he saw the man he has greeted as “Larry” in handcuffs in the yard Tuesday morning.
More than one neighbor in the 1600 block of West Second Street said they often saw Larry Hopkins sit on his front porch and smoke, often with a small dog by his side. Aside from a quick hello, the Hopkinses mainly kept to themselves, the neighbors said.
Neighbor James Miller described Margaret Hopkins as suffering from health issues that often kept her indoors. Miller, who said he lived on the block for more than 20 years, said he had helped Larry Hopkins assist Margaret Hopkins into her wheelchair on more than one occasion.
Miller said he had seen ambulances at the residence a lot recently.
Kari Nelson, who has lived on the block for 10 years, also remembered Larry Hopkins coming to her family’s door one day asking for help after Margaret had fallen from her wheelchair.
“He cared about her enough to ask for help, and he didn’t look like the type who liked to ask for help,” she said.
Lawrence police, fire-medical and animal control personnel remained in the neighborhood throughout the afternoon.
On Tuesday, a Kansas University spokeswoman confirmed that Larry Hopkins retired from KU Libraries, where he worked 19 years as a library assistant.
The Hopkinses were featured in a 1992 Journal-World article that detailed their challenging of $31 in fines in municipal court after a neighbor trapped one of their cats and turned it over to animal control, citing problems with “animal droppings on his picnic table.”
On the occasions that Miller, the neighbor, entered the Hopkins' home, he said, he encountered a large number of cats.
Tuesday’s alleged homicide would be the second to occur this year in Lawrence. In July, the shooting death of Gary Edens, 51, was the first homicide since 2008. Brittny Marie Adams, 19, of Topeka, was charged with second-degree murder and remains in Douglas County Jail on a $100,000 bond. She is next scheduled to appear in Douglas County District Court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 18.