RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A Riverside woman has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for the murder of her 66-year-old roommate.
Ruthetta Lois Hopson was found guilty of first-degree muder in the death of trauma nurse Laverna Sue Brown on March 29.
Brown, a grandmother and nurse at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, was found stabbed to death inside her car on October 28, 2011.
Prosecutors said Hopson conspired with her boyfriend, 30-year-old Julius Thomas of Jurupa Valley, to rob and execute the woman.
Hopson was accused of standing by during the attack and attempting to cover up the greusome scene. She denied being a willing participant and accused Thomas of orchestrating the crime but admitted to attempting to sanitize the garage Brown was killed in.
Thomas hung himself in his jail cell in December 2011 after admitting to his part in the murder.
Hopson was issued the sentence by Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Prevost after The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office declined to seek the death penalty.
Brown’s body was found during a police welfare check after her family grew concerned when she failed to arrive to Georgia from a flight from Ontario on a trip to visit her daughter and grandchildren.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Kersse said she was preparing to leave for Ontario International Airport when Thomas attacked her with a machete in the garage of the home Hopson and Brown shared with another woman.
Her car was found in a parking lot on Fremont between Mountain View, across from the Riverside Auto Auction and north of Riverside Airport, two days later.
Brown was nearly beheaded after sustaining several wounds to the neck. A butcher knife was also used in the attack, according to testimony.
Kersse said Hopson was preparing to move to a new apartment and needed money for the security deposit.
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