A Lawrence man was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the November 2013 shooting death of his wife after turning down a plea deal from prosecutors.
Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone convicted Larry L. Hopkins, 67, after he altered his plea from not guilty, which he entered in January, to no contest on Thursday.
Prosecutor Andrew Bauch said at the hearing that a deal had been offered to Hopkins, wherein the charges were adjusted to felony murder and criminal discharge of a firearm, which would have brought up to a life sentence and parole eligibility after 20 years.
Hopkins turned down the deal and elected to plead no contest to the original charge of first-degree murder. That comes with up to a life sentence and parole eligibility after 25 years.
In evidence presented Thursday, Bauch said Lawrence police were dispatched Nov. 5 to the 1600 block of West Second Terrace after Hopkins called authorities and said he shot his wife, 61-year-old Margaret Hopkins, in the head.
Bauch said Hopkins told authorities that his and his wife's health situations became unbearable. Hopkins considered committing murder-suicide, Bauch said, and did not discuss his actions with his wife.
Neither Hopkins nor his attorney, Clinton Lee, disputed the evidence presented. Lee declined to comment following the hearing.
Friends and relatives have told the Journal-World that Hopkins was his wife's primary caregiver. Her health problems included arthritis, diabetes, nerve damage and knee issues.
Hopkins appeared in court Wednesday with a walker and asked Malone if he could remain seated because of leg problems. Hopkins also suffered a stroke over a year ago. He appeared emotional several times during the hearing.
Malone set a sentencing hearing for 3 p.m. May 15.