Forrest and Perry Counties District Attorney Lin Carter announced that Roderick James Hopes was sentenced to 20 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for his convictions of armed robbery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a stolen firearm in the City of Hattiesburg.
Hopes was convicted in Forrest County Circuit Court on October 19 after a two-day trial where the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts. Hopes was sentenced on November 22 to serve a term of 20 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge Jon Mark Weathers. Hopes was charged as a habitual offender based upon prior felony convictions from the state of Ohio.
Hopes was tried on one count of armed robbery, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of possession of a stolen firearm stemming from an incident that occurred on March 26, 2020 at the Sunset Inn on Highway 49. While staying at the hotel, Hopes impersonated a law enforcement officer (a misdemeanor offense) by displaying a counterfeit police badge to a fellow guest at the hotel. Hopes took the victim’s firearm, then threatened to use the firearm against the victim. Hopes took possession of he victim’s wallet, which contained nearly $2,000 in cash, then fled the scene. Officers from the Hattiesburg Police Department quickly responded to 911 calls for help. HPD’s investigation of the crime, led by Detective Kelly Gardner, yielded the identity of suspect Hopes, who was arrested and charged.
“We have no tolerance for violent crime in Hattiesburg, especially when it’s committed by a career criminal,” said Carter. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute these offenses and make our communities safe.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Shoemaker and James Lane. Hopes, who is 55 years of age, was remanded into the custody of Sheriff Charlie Sims to await transport to the Mississippi Department of Corrections where he will serve his sentence. As a habitual offender, Hopes’ sentence must be served day-for-day without the possibility of parole.
Carter concluded, “I would like to thank the Hattiesburg Police Department for their excellent work in solving this crime and quickly apprehending this violent offender.”