Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Deming Resident Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Kidnapping and Firearms Conviction
Defendant, his Father and his Aunt were Prosecuted under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative for Kidnapping a Woman in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Transporting Her to Deming, New Mexico, where she was Repeatedly Sexually Assaulted
ALBUQUERQUE – This morning a U.S. District Court Judge sitting in Las Cruces, N.M., sentenced Jessie Hopper, Jr., 31, of Deming, N.M., to120 months in prison for his conviction on conspiracy, kidnapping and firearms charges. He will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.
His co-defendants Jessie Hopper, Sr., 55, and Polly Hopper, 62, of Deming, N.M., previously were sentenced in Oct. 2015, to lengthy prison terms for their convictions on conspiracy, kidnapping and firearms charges. Hopper, Sr. was sentenced to 366 months (30.5 years) in prison followed by five years of supervised release, while Polly Hopper, was sentenced to 292 months (24.3 years) in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
The sentences imposed on the Hoppers were announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 6th Judicial District Attorney Francesca Martinez-Estevez, Special Agent Terry Wade of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas and Luna County Sheriff Jonathon Mooradian.
The three Hoppers were arrested in June 2014, on a federal criminal complaint charging them with kidnapping and firearms charges. They subsequently were charged with conspiracy and kidnapping in a six-count indictment filed in May. 2014. The indictment also charged Hopper, Sr., and Hopper Jr., with brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, being felons in possession of firearms, and unlawfully possessing a sawed-off shotgun. Hopper, Jr., entered a guilty plea to the five charges against him on Nov. 21, 2014.
Hopper, Sr., and Polly Hopper elected to go to trial, and on Feb. 27, 2015, a federal jury returned a verdict finding the two guilty on all charges against them after a five-day trial. The evidence at trial established that Hopper, Jr., and Hopper, Sr., kidnapped the victim in Hot Springs, Ark., on May 8, 2014, with the assistance of Polly Hopper. Hopper, Jr., handcuffed the victim and a firearm was brandished at the victim to force her to comply with Hopper, Jr.’s demands, including a demand that she telephone family members to assure them that she was voluntarily leaving Arkansas with Hopper, Jr. On May 8 and 9, 2014, the defendants drove the victim from Arkansas to the defendants’ residence in Deming, where Hopper, Jr., and Hopper Sr., sexually assaulted the victim several times.
The three defendants initially were arrested by the New Mexico State Police on state charges on May 10, 2014. They remained in state custody until they were transferred to federal custody on May 16, 2014, to face the charges in this federal case. The state charges, which were filed by the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the State of New Mexico, were dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI, the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the New Mexico State Police and the Luna County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the State of New Mexico. The FBI in Little Rock, Ark., the Garland County (Arkansas) Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas also assisted in the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy M. Castellano and Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
The Hoppers were prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders based primarily on their criminal histories for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible. Because New Mexico’s violent crime rates, on a per capita basis, are amongst the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Luna County under this initiative.