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Man charged with accessory in July 2022 homicide

A Bixby man has been formally charged with accessory after the fact for his role in the murder of a Welling man last summer.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Christopher Kyle Brown allegedly helped load the body of Andrew Hopkins in the back of a vehicle before advising the driver on where to dispose of the body, near Welling Bridge.


On July 17, 2022, deputies with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office were notified that a body was found at Welling Bridge. Hopkins’ body was wrapped in a raft and he was identified when the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation live scanned his fingerprints.


“Investigator [Pete Broderick and James Morgan were] contacted by a confidential informant and their attorney, and all parties agreed to meet at the sheriff’s office for an interview,” Sgt. Morgan stated in the affidavit.


The informant said he went to the mechanic shop of Raul Lopez-Fuentes’, also known as Joe James Garcia. He told investigators that Garcia asked if he knew where Hopkins was and that Garcia was mad because Hopkins supposedly stole a vehicle from a woman and was sleeping with Garcia’s wife.


The informant said he returned to the shop the next day when he met with Brown.


“Chris then told the informant that [Garcia] just killed [Hopkins]. The informant advised that he walked over to the house/shop that Garcia lives in and Garcia came out and said, ‘You don’t want to go in there.’ The informant said he then walked into the residence and stated next to the bar area, he saw a blanket [over what he believed to be the body of Hopkins], with a large amount of blood on the floor,” Morgan stated in the affidavit.


Investigators were serving a search warrant to Garcia’s property and made entry when no one answered the door.


“While clearing the residence, you could see blood-like stains in front of the bar area. The residence was secured and [we] waited on the OSBI to arrive,” Morgan said.


Garcia then pulled up in a Cadillac and made an illegal lane change before speeding off. Tahlequah Police Officer Cory Keele pulled Garcia over and Garcia advised he needed to speak with investigators.


Garcia eventually confessed to the killing and said he shot Hopkins with a shotgun.


“Garcia said he had some friends over on the night of July 15, 2022, and they had been drinking and partying and doing some meth. Garcia said at some point early the next morning, they all started to leave and that is when he and Hopkins started to argue,” Morgan said.


The driver of the truck in which Hopkins’ body was transported to Welling Bridge, told investigators that Garcia asked him to haul off trash.


“[He] stated that Garcia and Brown loaded ‘the trash’ in his truck while he sat in the driver’s seat. [He] stated that he left the shop and took the [Bertha Parker Bypass] to Welling Road. [He] stated that Brown was giving him directions on where to go and they then traveled south on Welling Road until they came to a bridge where Brown stated to turn off,” the affidavit stated.

The driver gave investigators permission to keep his vehicle until a search warrant was obtained. Investigators said the driver was cooperative during the investigation.


“After a complete investigation, it was learned that Christopher Brown was present during the time that the homicide had occurred. It was also learned that Brown assisted in the clean up of the homicide and after the incident, [he picked up a woman] from her residence and brought her back to the residence of Garcia and had her assist with the clean up of blood and other evidence,” the affidavit stated.


An arrest warrant was issued March 23, 2023, and Brown posted a $25,000 bond. He is slated to appear in Cherokee County District Court for his initial appearance April 25.


Garcia appeared in court March 22 where witnesses were sworn in and testimony was taken. According to court records, the court found probable cause to believe that Garcia committed first-degree murder. Garcia is slated to appear for District Court Arraignment on April 27.


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