Convicted murderer given two life sentences

Posted at: 01/07/2014 6:57 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It was a heated and emotional afternoon in an Albuquerque courtroom.

Convicted murderer Telyith Hopkins was sentenced Tuesday for killing two people in unrelated murders in 2012.

Both victims were strangled by a telephone cord.

One of Arthur Garcia's relatives described his murder as a nightmare that will never end.

On Tuesday the Garcia family says justice was served, but maybe not entirely.

Garcia's own family found his body on the floor in his own home in 2012.

"Seemed like five minutes but you could talk for hours and hours," said Garcia's brother-in-law Randy Jaramillo.

Jaramillo said he would give anything for another five minutes with his brother in law.

"He was just timeless," said Jaramillo.

Garcia was brutally killed.

He was smashed over the head with a barbell and strangled with a phone cord by 23-year-old Telyith Hopkins.

The prosecution described the calculated way Hopkins killed Garcia.

Hopkins had killed a woman the same way just days earlier.

Hotel maid Ramona Montoya-Leon was found in an empty room at the Plaza Inn. She was raped and murdered and eventually bound just like Garcia.

"The last few minutes of that woman's life were brutal," said the prosecutor.

Hopkins' attorney says it was quite literally voices telling him to kill.

A mental health expert testified Hopkins suffers from schizophrenia.

His own mother pleaded with the families of both victims.

"Forgive me for my son," shouted Gail Hopkins. "Forgive me."

Garcia's niece Michelle Brooks said she will offer Hopkins forgiveness.

"I'm a mother," said Brooks. "How can we not feel for her you know it's not her fault what her sons actions were."

In the end Hopkins will pay for his actions.

Hopkins was served two life sentences, one for each life he took.

For Brooks, it's a start.

"I'm happy," said Brooks after the sentencing. "I feel sorry for his mom. She mentioned she wanted to offer us a napkin, and we would have rejected it. We wouldn't have. I want to offer her a napkin and tell her we are very sorry for her loss also."