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Burke man gets life sentence in cab driver’s murder

A 24-year-old Burke County man will spend the rest of his life in prison after entering a guilty plea Monday in the death of a Hickory cab driver, authorities say.

Matthew Gene Hopkins of Connelly Springs pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, prosecutors said. He was the fifth and last suspect convicted in the death of Adam Williams.

Several members of Williams’ family were in the Catawba County courtroom when Hopkins was sentenced by Judge Richard Boner.

Authorities say Williams was stabbed to death on Aug. 23, 2011, after answering a call for a fare at a Fuddrucker’s restaurant off U.S. 70. Prosecutors allege he was killed during a robbery.

Another man, Camyron Frederick Johnson, was convicted earlier this year of murder and also sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The others convicted in the case were Robert Shannon McElwee, Emily Kathryn Starnes and Consandra Nicole Tyree. Each was found guilty of lesser charges.

McElwee was sentenced to 22 to 37 months behind bars, according to North Carolina prison records.

Starnes and Tyree, each 16 at the time of the stabbing, were sentenced to 58 to 79 months in prison.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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