A state appeals court has upheld the stacked life sentences handed to a Quinlan man convicted of multiple counts of sexually assaulting a child.
The Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas issued its ruling Tuesday, denying the petition by Bruce Hopkins.
Jury selection was scheduled in February 2020 for Hopkins,who was charged with two indictments of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He had pleaded not guilty.
But following jury selection, Hopkins chose to waive the jury and both guilt/innocence and punishment were submitted to the court, which resulted in 196th District Court Judge Andrew Bench finding Hopkins guilty and sentencing him to life prison in each case.
Judge Bench then ‘stacked’ the sentences to where Hopkins would will not begin serving his second life sentence until his first life sentence was completed.
Hopkins filed an appeal with the appeals court, which considered the case on Feb. 17.
In a single issue, Hopkins’ defense counsel argued the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence over his hearsay objection.
But in his ruling, Justice Craig Smith said the appeals court found no error in Bench’s decision.
“We affirm the trial court’s judgment,” Smith said.
The Hunt County grand jury returned the indictments against Hopkins in June 2019. Hopkins, 72, was alleged to have sexually assaulted a male child of less than 14 years of age on two separate occasions in November 2018.
Each of the aggravated sexual assault of a child indictments was a first degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.
Hunt County District Attorney Noble D. Walker said Hopkins will have to serve at least 30 years of his first sentence before becoming eligible for parole. In the event he makes parole, he will then begin serving his second life sentence and will have to serve at least 30 years of that sentence before again becoming eligible for parole.