Homeowner Gets Life for Killing Man in Yard — Says It Was Self – Defense

A homeowner in North Carolina received a life sentence on Thursday, Feb. 22, for killing a man in his front yard.

Chad Copley, 40, was convicted of first-degree murder for the 2016 death of Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, 20.

Thomas was leaving a house party down the street from Copley’s home when he was shot, reported WRAL.

Prosecutors said that Copley called 911 to let them know he was “locked and loaded” and on his way to secure his neighborhood from what he described as a “bunch of hoodlums.”

“‘I’m going to kill ’em,’” Copley said, Wake County prosecutor Patrick Latour told jurors.

Defense attorneys said that the party was rife with unruly people and deputies found smelled marijuana on some of the partygoers.

One of the people who testified for the defense, Justice Evuka, is an accused drug dealer who is in jail on felony marijuana charges, reported the Charlotte News-Observer.

And a police officer said that officers found a gun in the vehicle that Evuka rode to the party.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours before unanimously reaching a guilty verdict, reported ABC11.

The mother of Thomas told the broadcaster that the year-and-a-half since his death has been painful.

“This was so hard and it was so hard to go through today, every day,” she said. “He was an excellent child, sweet child, loving child, protective child, and he didn’t deserve to die on the curb.”

Copley told the court during the trial that he felt threatened by the partygoers and acted in defense.

“I grabbed the shotgun and I load it with five rounds,” said Copley.

“(They) actually lifted their shirts up, flashing the firearms. I kept telling them to leave and he reached for his gun and I shot him.”

Copley shot through a window from inside his garage.

WRAL noted that no gun was found near Thomas or anywhere in the yard and prosecutors said there was no evidence that Thomas was any closer than the edge of the yard.

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