KINGMAN - There were tears on both sides of the courtroom during Thursday's sentencing of Stephen Bopray, 50, for the theft of nearly $100,000 worth of items from a long-time family friend's home.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison for burglary and theft in connection with the burglary of a home in the 3300 block of Pasadena Avenue on Jan. 6, 2012, and two counts of theft of a motor vehicle from two incidents that happened in April and June of 2012 and were not connected with the burglary.
Theft charges against Bopray's wife, Jacklyn, and his daughter, Ciara, were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Mitzy Nolte was the only victim of Stephen Bopray's actions who spoke at the hearing. She said the theft of items from her home came as a shock.
"My kids grew up with the Boprays. We did take vacations to Disneyland together," she said, her voice choking with emotion. "We became a family. We would always encourage them and give them anything they needed and they did the same for us."
When her home was burglarized on Jan. 6, 2012, it never crossed her mind that Stephen Bopray might be involved, Nolte said.
According to Kingman Police, Stephen Bopray, Jacklyn Bopray, Shawn Andrews and a 17-year-old minor were arrested for the burglary of a home in the 3300 block of Pasadena Avenue in July 2012 after police traced several stolen computers from a pawnshop to the suspects.
According to court documents, Stephen Bopray allegedly sat in the car while Andrews and another person entered the home and took the items.
"When the police told me he did it, I couldn't believe it," Nolte said. "He worked for another eight months (after the burglary) at my home. He even told me that if the police ever caught the guys, he'd bury them in the desert. That man, who was a part of my family, taunted us for nearly two years.
"The only reason why we agreed to the plea agreement was because of Jacky," Nolte said.
Christian Ackerley, Stephen Bopray's attorney, told the court that Jacklyn Bopray was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.
"Stephen, we've forgiven you, but it's really hard to forget the pain," Nolte said, wiping tears from her eyes.
Stephen Bopray's family pleaded with Mohave County Superior Court Commissioner Derek Carlisle for leniency.
His daughter Nicole Shafter spoke first.
"He's a good person. He just got involved with the wrong people. He's always been willing to drop whatever he's been doing to help take care of his family," she said. "My mom is very sick. She needs him to take care of her."
Beatrice McKinney, Bopray's mother-in-law, called him "a great provider for the entire family, his kids and his grandkids."
"We've been married 22 years," added Jacklyn Bopray. "He's always taken care of me and the kids and now his grandkids. He's a good person."
Bopray declined an offer from Carlisle to make a comment during his sentencing.
Ackerley, who represented Stephen Bopray by phone after a snafu with his calendar placed him out-of-town on the date of the hearing, asked Carlisle to sentence him to the minimum number of years allowable by the plea agreement.
"His wife has significant health issues and he needs to be there for his family," Ackerley said. "He does have an old felony record, but those were 10 years ago. He also has community support and he's taken responsibility for his actions."
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Jacob Cote asked for Stephen Bopray to be sentenced to the full nine and a half years in the agreement.
"Compared to his co-defendants, he's not a young man. He should have known better," Cote said. "Those two previous felony convictions are not that old and they're not completely unrelated. He was the ringleader. This was his idea. He's the one responsible."
Stephen Bopray's previous convictions were for burglary and a probation violation.
"If he's willing to steal from his best friends, he's willing to do it to anyone and he's willing to do it again," Cote said.
Carlisle said he would consider the family and community support Stephen Bopray had and the situation with Jacklyn Bopray's health, but he would also consider the effects of his actions on his victims and his previous criminal record.
"I have to consider the impact this has had on Ms. Nolte," Carlisle said. "Whenever you have a burglary like this happen, there's going to be some loss of a sense of security for the victims and that loss may never be replaced. But it's worse when you know the person who did it and you've done things, like taking vacations, previously together and now that trust has been betrayed."
Carlisle then sentenced Stephen Bopray to the presumptive sentence of three and a half years for the burglary and theft of items from Nolte's house with 141 days credit for time served in the county jail.
He sentenced Stephen Bopray to another presumptive sentence of two and a half years for the theft of one of the vehicles in April 2012 and another three years for the theft of an all-terrain vehicle in June 2012.