John W. Hopkins Accused of Joanne Pecheone’s Murder

on February 12, 2011 in Serial Killers by

Nineteen-year-old Joanne Pecheone was walking home from school in East Utica the afternoon of January 12, 1972. She was later found having been raped and stabbed to death along a hilltop trail.

On Friday, nearly forty years later, Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says that John W. Hopkins was responsible for her death. Hopkins died in jail of suicide in 2000.

He had been convicted of killing 17-year-old Genatiempo in 1976 and 17-year-old Sherrie Ann Carville in October 1978. He was arrested after kidnapping a 15-year-old girl in 1979. This girl survived the attack.

You can review all the evidence in McNamara’s complete statement, but here are the highlights:

Pecheone’s killer was seen by a 12-year-old boy snowmobiling the trail where she was killed. The boy says he came across a man crouching in the snow. He followed the man down to his car, where the man sped off. He then went back to where the man had been crouching, and discovered Pecheone’s body. He contacted police. The composite sketch created from his description was distinctive, and matches Hopkins’ high school yearbook photo. The description of the offender’s clothing also matches what the clothes Hopkins was known to wear.

A profile developed prior to Hopkins becoming a suspect matches Hopkins quite well.

There are significant matches in the M.O. between Pecheone’s killing and the attacks Hopkins was convicted of. Both Pecheone and Genatiempo were gagged, and both had had their bras cut up the front. Both Pecheone and the 15-year-old girl had their arms tied with a shoelace. Carville’s hands were also tied, although not with a shoelace.

While in jail awaiting trail, he told a corrections officer that he actually had committed three murders, but never identified the victim.

DNA was recovered from Pecheone’s clothing. While it is not a close enough match to Hopkins to show it’s him definitively, neither can it rule him out.

While this will never be tried due to Hopkins’ suicide, it does sound like it was probably him.


  • Sue Arcuri says:

    The conclusion of Oneida County District Attorney, Scott McNamera is being challenged, mostly by the community he represents.

    His conclusion is based primarily on speculation. I, as the writer of Justicedenied13501 will be one who challengs his findings.

  • Joe Ryle says:

    john hopkins was my grandfatherr

  • Theodore R. Bundy says:

    Good thing you’re not a girl, Joe.

  • Lisa B. Goodberlet says:

    This is a tough one. I hope it is true. Forensic evidence is critical.
    I thank God that the Northville girl who he also left for dead survived and that they were able to catch him. What a nightmare for her and the other victims. If not for the survivor, there could have been many many more victims.

  • roe says:

    I know it looks like he is the one who killed her but he is not. My brother who looked like him, was around the same age, same built, drove a similar car, dressed similarly, and had the same MO confessed to me many years ago during a rampage to killing her. He has a violent past and is a sociopath. He did so because she rejected him. My parents suspected he was guilty but never said anything. I have told the police but they have never done anything about it. They have zeroed in on this guy only to close the case. I have often thought of contacting her family but was reluctant to open old wounds. It haunts me to this day.

  • Tianna says:

    He was my mothers uncle. He was not the one who killed those girls.

  • Tianna says:

    And he DID NOT commit suicide in jail.

  • penny cinelli says:

    i would check into johns brother, he has too much to hide after what he did to his mother, sister, brother, niece, nephew, an grand daughter, i wouldn’t put anything past him. he molested his granddaughter and his wife and daughter are trying to hide the fact.

  • debbie says:

    checck out the brother of john

  • debbie says:

    family was told that John slit his wrists, his wrists were not slit his throat was slit ear to ear and he had a black eye. they ruled his death a suicide, open and shut case i believe he was murdered

  • Carolyn J Brockhum says:

    Yes he did have a child a daughter and I know this because his mother is my aunt

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