Saturday, January 20, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg: Man charged with murder in drug deal shooting death

ST. PETERSBURG — A man who police believe was involved in a robbery that turned deadly Friday has been arrested on a murder charge.

Hayward Conrad Hopkins, 30, was arrested late Friday at the Florida Dolphin motel, 6801 Sunset Way, in St. Pete Beach.

Police said Hopkins and Daniel Brown, 28, went to a house at 4313 21st St. N earlier that day to buy drugs. Inside, police said the men tried to rob two other men at gunpoint.

Ryan Jaeger, the 21-year-old who rented the home, pulled out his own gun and fired at Hopkins and Brown. Brown died at the scene. Hopkins got away unharmed, police said.

Jaeger and his friend, Charles Hernandez, 22, also were shot and taken to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Hopkins is being charged with second-degree murder, police said, because he was involved in a crime that resulted in a death.

According to court records, Hopkins has an extensive criminal history, with charges including felony possession of a firearm, drug possession and aggravated assault.

Police believe Laurel Ann Skinner, Hopkins' girlfriend, checked Hopkins into the motel so officers wouldn't find him, according to arrest reports. Officers found the gun they believe Hopkins used in the robbery in the couple's apartment at 1200 Beach Drive NE in St. Petersburg. Skinner, 28, was charged with accessory after the fact.

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