Murder victims laid to rest

Cletis Nelson, William Hopkins remembered in separate ceremonies
Police continue to investigate the double murder discovered Jan. 14 on Harmons Hill Road.
January 31, 2014

Police are tight-lipped about their investigation into the double murder of two young men who grew up in the Cape Region.

Cletis Nelson, 29, and William Hopkins, 27, were found dead Jan.14 in a Harmons Hill Road home. Both were shot several times in killings police are only saying was not random.

"Any information outside of the scope of that specific information would be part of the ongoing investigation and cannot be provided,” said Sgt. Paul Shavack of Delaware State Police.

Nelson's funeral was held Jan. 23 at Friendship Baptist Church in Lewes, and his body was interred in the cemetery behind the sanctuary, said the Rev. George Edwards, pastor.

Friends and family crowded the church at the well-attended service, Edwards said. While he didn't know Nelson, he recalled seeing him as a child, when he attended church with his mother. "It's his grandmother I know," Edwards said, speaking of Delores Nelson.

Nelson's obituary shows he was raised in Milton, the son of Juanita Nelson and Cletis Simms, and he was close to a sister and four brothers. Nelson attended H.O. Brittingham Elementary, Milton Middle School and later Milford High School. He was a sports fan with a “loving spirit that surrounded his personality,” his obituary reads.

“If you ask anyone they would say he was very giving,” said childhood friend Talon Taylor.

Hopkins' funeral followed the next day, Jan. 24, at Philadelphia Pentecostal Holiness Church in Ellendale. His body was interred at Milford Community Cemetery.

Funeral Director Robert Miller said he knew Hopkins as a child.

“He seemed to be a good person,” he said. “This is a sad situation for both families.”

Hopkins was born in Milford, resided in Houston, and attended Cape Henlopen High School and Delaware Technical Community College. He later worked at Mountaire and Perdue, his obituary states, adding he was a music enthusiast and a fan of hip-hop who wrote musical lyrics and created electronic beats when he was not listening to his favorite songs.

“He was an aspiring artist who didn't glorify the criminal lifestyle, but spoke about hardships and providing for and loving his two beautiful daughters,” said friend Christopher Boone.

In addition to his daughters, he is survived by his father Delbert Hopkins, mother Rochelle Moore and a brother Delbert Hopkins II.

Friends and family will miss his laughter and remember him as charming, loveable, well-mannered, loyal and dependable, the obituary states.

Owner: No sign of fight

Julie Ellis-Hall, owner of the residence where the murder occurred, said she did not know Nelson or Hopkins; she was renting to another man who is in prison now.

She recently winterized the residence and said it was neat and tidy inside – there was no sign of a violent fight.

“It did not look like it was much of a struggle,” she said.

Hopkins and Nelson both had recently fulfilled prison sentences and had been released – Nelson in December and Hopkins in September.

Although both victims had many friends and family in the Milton area, Cape Henlopen High School guidance counselor Joel Simon said no students have come to him with questions or concerns about the murders.

“I haven't heard any impact related to the murders,” he said.

Shavack said police continue to investigate the double murder and declined to release any new information.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Fred Chambers at 388-0196, call 1-800-TIP-3333, go to, text 274637 using keyword DSP or download an app at

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