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The man accused of driving an acquaintance accused of “going hobo hunting with a pellet gun” when he killed a 68-year-old homeless grandmother sleeping outside a coffee shop in California will get a year in jail while the alleged gunman faces trial.
Ryan Hopkins, 19, learned his fate this week in the killing of Annette Pershal, 68. He pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting assault with a deadly weapon. Trial for the alleged shooter, William Innes, 18, is pending.
Prosecutors said the tragedy on May 8 started when Innes allegedly sent a text to a group chat, saying, “I’m going hobo hunting with a pellet gun.” With Hopkins behind the wheel, they drove to a homeless encampment in the 3300 block of Sandrock Road, where Innes allegedly fired up to eight rounds at Pershal, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Officers found Pershal at 6:15 a.m. She appeared unconscious. She was hospitalized and died on May 11, authorities said in a news release.
She had been shot multiple times with a pellet gun, and her injuries were non-survivable. A homicide investigation was launched, and investigators followed leads, gathered evidence, and found witnesses. Police ultimately identified two suspects and arrested them on Aug. 3.
Hopkins didn’t know of Innes’ alleged intentions that day and apologized to the victim’s family in court.
“I want to take a second to say I’m sorry to all you guys and the pain you have to go through,” he said, local NBC affiliate KNSD reported. “I’m sorry we’re all here today.”
Pershal’s daughter Brandy Nazworth was crushed. Her mother was a neighborhood fixture, affectionately called “Granny Annie.”
“To find out someone had shot her with a pellet gun … you don’t even treat animals like that,” Nazworth said, the Union-Tribune reported.