27 Years Ago: Mark Hopkinson Executed in Wyoming
January 22nd, 1992 was the date of the only capital punishment execution in Wyoming since 1965. Mark Hopkinson was executed via lethal injection at the Wyoming State Penitentiary at 12:57 a.m. His execution was the 159th carried out in the US since the re-institution of the death penalty in 1976.
Hopkinson was 42 years old at the time, and sentenced to death for ordering the murder of Jeff Green. The case has been described as the most bizarre in the history of Wyoming. Green was set to testify against Hopkinson for the 1977 bombing of attorney Vince Vehar's home. Vehar was killed in the bombing, as well as his wife and son.
While Hopkinson was in prison in California at the time of Green's murder in 1979, he ordered the "hit" on the man, which was carried out in Fort Bridger, WY. The actual murderers were never apprehended. Green was found dead at a rest area near Fort Bridger with more than 100 cigarette burns and a gunshot wound to his throat.
According to court documents, the entire conflict began with Mark Hopkinson and Vincent Behar having a disagreement over Hopkinson's desire to hook his mobile home park up to Fort Bridger sewage lines.
In Wyoming's History, seven men were executed prior to statehood in 1890. Eighteen men were executed between 1892 and 1965. Hopkinson's execution in 1992 was the only execution in the state since 1965. A bill is currently being discussed in the Wyoming Legislature to abolish the death penalty in the state of Wyoming.