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Alabama evangelist gets life plus 51 years for dead wife in freezer, abuse of girl

Body in Freezer

Apr. 9: Anthony Hopkins, 39, testifies during his trial in Circuit Judge John Lockett's courtroom at Mobile Government Plaza in Mobile, Ala. Hopkins was sentenced on May 20 to life plus 51 years in prison after being convicted of killing his wife and storing her body in a home freezer in 2004. (AP)

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama evangelist who authorities say terrorized his family while preaching at revivals has been sentenced to life plus 51 years in prison after being convicted of killing his wife and storing her body in a home freezer.

Circuit Judge John Lockett imposed the sentence Thursday on Anthony Hopkins, 39, who showed no remorse during the proceeding. He got the maximum sentence of life for murder and additional time for convictions including sodomy and sexual abuse.

Assistant District Attorney Ashley Rich called Hopkins "evil of the worst kind."

She said he taught the eight children in his home things about the Bible that were not true and that helped him get away with his crimes for years.

During Hopkins' trial in April, prosecutors said he killed his 36-year-old wife, Arletha Hopkins, in 2004 after she caught him molesting a girl, then stuffed her body in a freezer at their home in north Mobile. Investigators discovered the body in 2008 after a young woman abused by Hopkins told child advocates about it, authorities said. Police arrested Hopkins while he was preaching at a revival in the south Alabama town of Jackson.

Defense attorney Jeff Deen said his client admits putting his wife's body in the freezer, but he doesn't know how she died.

"There's evidence in the trial that it could've been by natural causes, and it needs to be explored on appeal," Deen said.

The two oldest children in the Hopkins home are now grown. The six youngest are living with relatives in Georgia.

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