CLINTON—The defendant in a criminal homicide case in Rocky Top in August had planned to rob the 83-year-old man who died because “it would be easy,” according to court testimony Tuesday.
The body of the victim, J.C. Copeland, who has been described as a “sweet old man,” was found partially wrapped in a pink blanket underneath a porch at a mobile home on Jacksboro Avenue on August 31, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent John Hannon. Copeland is believed to have been strangled until he died, according to court records. There was white rope around Copeland’s neck and other parts of his body, including his wrists and ankles, Hannon testified during a preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton on Tuesday.
Inside Copeland’s home, investigators found a fresh brown stain on the floor near his front door, white strings similar to the material found around his neck, and in one possible sign of a struggle, cigarettes on the floor, according to Hannon’s testimony. An acrylic painted press-on fingernail was found in the living room, Hannon said. It’s similar to the type of press-on fingernail that a woman might wear, Hannon said when questioned by prosecutor Emily Faye Abbott.
Outside the home, Copeland’s vehicle was missing.
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