Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man sentenced to 20 years for pistol whipping, shooting man in extortion attempt to gain ownership of internet domain

Sherman Hopkins
Sherman Hopkins

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for breaking into a man’s home, pistol whipping and threatening his life, motivated by gaining ownership of an internet domain.

Sherman Hopkins Jr., 43, pleaded guilty in December 2017 in U.S. District Court to one count interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence.

According to a plea agreement, Hopkins, wearing a hat, dark sunglasses and pantyhose on his head, was armed with a 9 mm pistol when he broke into the home of Ethan Deyo, 424 Fairway Terrace SE, on June 21, 2017. Deyo ran upstairs to a bedroom, shut the door and leaned against it to prevent Hopkins from entering but Hopkins kicked in the door, court records show.

Hopkins then confined and threatened Deyo with the handgun, forcing him to log onto his computer and transfer an internet domain name, “doitforstate.com,” to a third party, according to court records. Hopkins “pistol whipped” Deyo several times and then pull out a Taser and tased him in the arm, back and neck.

At this point, Hopkins became more violent and was holding the gun to Deyo’s head, threatening to kill him if the transfer wasn’t correct. Deyo pushed the gun from his head but was shot in the leg during the struggle for the gun. Deyo then got the gun and shot Hopkins multiple times in the chest.

Hopkins during the sentencing apologized to the victim, his family and the court.

U.S. District Senior Judge Linde Reade said she couldn’t believe the “brutality and senselessness” of what he did to the victim over ownership of the internet domain. She said Deyo’s statement, which wasn’t read in court, struck her because he “will suffer the rest of his life, not just because of the gunshot wound but the entire incident.”

Deyo, in the statement, said he couldn’t relax in his own home and couldn’t enjoy his life, Reade said.

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Reade told Hopkins his lengthy criminal history was “shameful,” which included domestic abuse, assault, perjury and several drunken driving offenses.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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