Bobby Ray Hopkins, 36, a former bull rider, was convicted and sentenced to die for the brutal murders of 18-year-old Sandi Marbut and her 19-year-old cousin Jennifer Weston. The evidence presented at trial is as follows.
On the evening of July 30, 1993, Sandi and Jennifer had some friends over at their apartment, and Sandi drove the last guest home about 4:00 a.m. the next morning. Between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m., Hopkins entered the apartment. Sandi was in the downstairs living room on the couch. Hopkins attacked Sandi, stabbing and cutting her approximately forty times. The evidence of defensive wounds indicated that she struggled and fought to survive. The evidence also indicated that she was probably conscious for several minutes during the attack.
Jennifer came downstairs while Hopkins was attacking Sandi. Hopkins saw Jennifer and proceeded to attack her at the foot of the stairway. Jennifer tried to flee upstairs but was overpowered. She died at the landing at the top of the stairs after sustaining sixty-six stab wounds.
According to the police, Hopkins began to search the bedrooms for money. Hopkins entered the bathroom and tried to clean the blood off his body. He took some towels to try to stop the bleeding from his wounds. He then walked down the stairs and exited the apartment. Later that evening, Sandi’s parents found her on the living room floor and discovered Jennifer at the top of the stairs. There were blood stains and pools of blood all over the apartment.
On August 5, 1993, the police searched the area around the apartment and found two blood stained towels in a culvert between the girls’ apartment and Hopkins’ home. The towels belonged to the girls and were given to them by Sandi’s parents. The blood on the towels was consistent with Hopkins’ blood. Blood on hairs found on the towels was consistent with the blood types of Sandi, Jennifer, and Hopkins. On August 22, 1993, a knife was discovered in weeds outside of the apartment on a route between the girls’ apartment and Hopkins’ home. The blood on the knife was consistent with the blood of Hopkins, Sandi, and Jennifer.
On the evening the bodies were found, Texas Ranger George Turner questioned several bystanders at the scene and, as a result, went in search of Hopkins. Turner learned that Hopkins had been in the girls’ apartment approximately two weeks before the murders and, at that time, got in an argument with Sandi over money that was missing from her purse. Sandi thought that Hopkins had taken the money and asked him to leave and not come back.
Later that evening, Ranger Turner interviewed Hopkins and noticed that Hopkins had cuts on his hands and arms. Turner also noticed what appeared to be blood on Hopkins’ boots. Hopkins allowed Turner to take the boots. Subsequent tests showed that the blood on the boots was consistent with the blood of Jennifer, Sandi, and Hopkins. Virginia Smith, a nurse at the Johnson County Law Enforcement Center, drew blood from Hopkins and noticed fresh scratches or cuts on his hands.
Hopkins gave a videotaped interview to Captain Tony Knott of the Hobbs, New Mexico Police Department. Knott had known Hopkins when Hopkins lived in New Mexico. In the interview, Hopkins stated that he went over to Sandi’s and Jennifer’s apartment around 4 or 5 a.m. He and Sandi began to argue, Sandi got a knife, a struggle ensued, and he stabbed her. Hopkins admitted that he was cut during the altercation and bled in the apartment.
As a result of serology testing, the blood stains in the apartment were determined to be consistent with Hopkins’ blood. His blood was located in numerous areas in the apartment, including on a light switchplate in the living room, the living room wall, a sock, a bathroom rug and faucet, a shoe and a magazine in Jennifer’s bedroom, a newspaper article in Jennifer’s purse, the top of the stairway landing, and a chest drawer in Sandi’s bedroom.
The Fort Worth Crime Laboratory performed tests that showed blood matching Hopkins’ DNA profile on a sock, the bathroom rug, the living room wall, and on one of the towels. Genescreen in Dallas also performed tests that revealed blood matching Hopkins’ DNA profile on a cotton ball, a sock, and a magazine. Additional testing showed blood matching Hopkins’ DNA profile on the front door knob, the bathroom rug, the light switchplate in the living room, the bathroom, the socks, the newspaper clipping in Jennifer’s purse, and on a shoe. Further, Hopkins’ boot matched the print of a boot left in the blood on the carpet in Jennifer’s bedroom.