Key player in Delaware crime ring stands trial

Damon Bethea

Nearly two years after he was arrested for his role in organized Delaware crime operation, Damon Bethea appeared in court Monday to stand trial.

Bethea is facing over 20 charges related to a home invasion and murders of William Hopkins and Cletis Nelson that happened in January of 2014. Just one of the crimes associated with the crime operation that was uncovered as part of the multi-agency police operation called "In the House".

The state's first witness was Nelson's brother Terrence who made the 911 call the night of the murders.

He testified that after not hearing from his brother all day he became concerned and went to his house. Upon arriving he said he saw screen from the bathroom window was propped up against the side of the house.

He then moved to the front of the house where he testified he looked through the front door window and saw his brother lying on the floor through a window in the front door. After finding the door open he said he entered and called out to his brother, when he didn't respond Nelson said he "knew what it meant."

When the state pressed Nelson on what he meant by "knew what it meant" he replied "meant he was dead."

Nelson said he then turned around saw their family friend William Hopkins dead seated on the couch.

After finding the bodies Nelson first called his mom and then his little brother who convinced him to call the police.

The narration from the state claims that earlier that day Bethea, Rhamir Waples and Richard Robinson were all given guns by Steven Kellam and told to go rob Hopkins and  Nelson who were heroin dealers.

Bethea allegedly entered the home through the bathroom window and then let Waples and Robinson in.

The trio robbed Hopkins and Nelson of $7,000 and then opened fire on them.

Bethea's trial is set for three weeks.

Categories: Delaware, Local News