A Jefferson County man charged with killing another man a year ago has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to the crime.
Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter said Monday that Vincent Lee Hooper, 48, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the April 15, 2017, stabbing death of Tommy Darren Tumlin, 47, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis sentenced Hooper to 30 years in prison.
Hooper had originally been charged with first-degree murder but agreed to plead guilty to the lesser offense. He had been scheduled for trial beginning Monday.
A probable cause affidavit from Jefferson County Sheriff’s Investigator Terry Wingard that was presented in district court on April 17, 2017, said deputies were sent to a house in the 9900 block of U.S. 270 at about 11:06 p.m. When they arrived, Hooper said he had been in a “physical altercation” with Tumlin and said he “did not try to hurt Tommy.”
Wingard reported that he talked to Michelle Hooper, who said that her husband became angry with her and started toward her in a threatening manner when Tumlin stood up and told Vincent Hooper that “he was not going to do that” while he (Tumlin) was there. Tumlin then stood between Michelle and Vincent Hooper so that she and her daughter could leave. She said that as she was leaving, she saw Vincent Hooper approach Tumlin “in an aggressive manner.”
She said she later received a call from Vincent Hooper asking her to come home; when she did, she said her husband was covered in blood, and she saw Tumlin lying inside the house on the kitchen floor “covered in blood and appearing lifeless.”
Wingard reported that as he approached the house, he saw a knife with an approximately seven-inch blade adjacent to the steps; the knife had a reddish brown stain that appeared to be blood on it.
Vincent Hooper was interviewed the following day and told investigators he remembered his wife leaving and that he and Tumlin were alone. He also said he remembered seeing Tumlin lying on the floor covered in blood. Shown the knife that Wingard found, Vincent Hooper said it belonged to him and was the one that he had carried with him when he and Tumlin had gone fishing earlier that day.
Hunter said Vincent Hooper will have to serve 50 percent of his sentence but can reduce that to 25 percent if he receives the maximum amount of good time possible. Hooper is currently incarcerated at Tucker Prison on charges related to two counts of breaking or entering and three counts of theft of property stemming from incidents in Hot Spring County.
Deputy Prosecutors Bryan Achorn and Carol Billings represented the state, and Hooper was represented by Keith Hall from the Public Defender’s Office.