Once a traveling evangelist leading church revivals, Anthony Jujuan Hopkins on Monday faced a courtroom of potential jurors who would hear prosecutors attempt to prove that Hopkins killed his wife and stuffed her body into a freezer.
He killed her after she discovered him sexually abusing his stepdaughter
, prosecutors said.
Hopkins' 19-year-old stepdaughter came forward in 2008 and told authorities that her mother, Arletha Hopkins, kicked her father out of the house in December 2004 because he was abusing the stepdaughter, according to court records.
The next morning, the girl told police, Anthony Hopkins asked her to help hide her mother's body.
After burying Arletha Hopkins near a church in Jackson, Ala., Anthony Hopkins later moved the body into a freezer in the utility room of their house in Mobile, prosecutors said, where it was stored until police found it in July 2008.
During a pretrial hearing Monday, Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Ashley Rich said prosecutors will show "the continued pattern of abuse and sex and mind games and control" that resulted in the stepdaughter not reporting the killing until four years later.
The Hopkins household included eight children. Prosecutors have said the two eldest were Arletha Hopkins' children from a previous marriage, while the other six were Anthony and Arletha Hopkins' children together.
Three or four of the Hopkins children are expected to testify in the trial, prosecutors said.
Rich said the stepdaughter, who is expected to testify in the case, had one abortion and one miscarriage after Hopkins forced her to have sex with him. She also gave birth in November 2008, and prosecutors say Hopkins is the father.
Defense attorney Jeff Deen asked jurors whether anyone thought preachers should be held to a higher standard of behavior.
"He's charged with murder," Deen said later. "He's not charged with having a body in a freezer.