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Teen Sentenced After Homeless Grandmother Allegedly Shot Dead By Pal Who Boasted He Was Going 'Hobo Hunting': Prosecutors

homeless woman fatally shot hobo hunting by two teens california
Source: San Diego District Attorney's Office

William Innes; Ryan Hopkins

Dec. 4 2023, Published 12:04 p.m. ET

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Two teen boys were arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a homeless woman in California with a pellet gun. Now, one is heading to prison for his role in the alleged incident.

Ryan Hopkins, 19, has pleaded guilty to the charge of aiding and abetting assault with a deadly weapon, NBC San Diego reported. Prosecutors claimed in court that he was driving with his friend, William Innes, 18, when Innes shot and killed 68-year-old grandmother Annette Pershal while she slept outside a San Diego coffee shop.

On May 8, officers found the unconscious woman and tried to wake her up, but she remained unresponsive, officials with the San Diego Police Department said.

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The victim was transported to a local hospital, and doctors determined she had been shot several times with a pellet gun. Her wounds were “non-survivable,” according to authorities.

Pershal, died three days later, on May 11, from her injuries — she suffered wounds to her head, leg and torso and a pellet ruptured her aorta.

Detectives determined Pershal was most likely homeless, and the medical examiner concluded her death was a homicide on July 31, officials said.

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Police identified Hopkins and Innes as suspects in the case and arrested the teenagers days later. Police at the time believed Hopkins drove Innes to the area where Innes allegedly shot Pershal, KNSD reported.

Before the deadly incident, police said, Innes allegedly sent a group text that read: “I’m going hobo hunting with a gun.”

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Pershall suffered wounds to the head, torso and leg. Investigators allegedly were able to locate an air rifle in Innes’ home, KNSD reported.

Innes was charged with first-degree murder, possession of an assault weapon and two counts of failure to embed steel in a firearm.

At his sentencing hearing on Dec. 1, the New York Post reported Kennedy told the victim's family: “I want to take a second to say I’m sorry to all you guys and the pain you have to go through. I’m sorry we’re all here today.”

While Hopkins claimed he wasn't aware of what Innes planned to do, prosecutors countered in court that the teenager "drove himself and his codefendant across the street, stopped right before Ms. Pershal who was shot, suffering, and they watched 15 to 20 seconds to see if they hit their target."

The victim's daughter, Brandy Nazworth, told the Union-Tribune that the her mother "was a person, not just a thing to be used of target practice."

“To find out someone had shot her with a pellet gun … you don’t even treat animals like that,” she said.

A judge sentenced Hopkins to a suspended three-year prison term, and probation after he serves six months behind bars.

Innes has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held without bail, according to KNSD. He has a trial-readiness hearing scheduled for later this month.

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