Trial delayed for lack of witnesses

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Testimony in the murder case against Bobby Wayne Copeland was derailed Tuesday after the defense failed to produce more than three of its witnesses.

It was the second day of testimony in the case in which Copeland is charged with the 2009 shooting death of his wife, Dorothy, in the couple’s North Creek home.

In his opening arguments, defense attorney Joe Sawyer alleged Copeland has no recollection of the events leading up to the shooting. Tuesday, he produced his first witness – Lorene Thompson, an EMT who responded to scene. Thompson testified that because of irregular vitals and because of his diabetes, Copeland was transferred to Florala Memorial Hospital for observation. She said he never spoke about what happened with his wife.


Thompson said Copeland was coherent to the point he knew that he’d not taken his medicine that day and where the EMT could find his medicine, as well as where they could find a bottle of water for him to take his medicine.

However, Thompson’s testimony may be moot in the case, or at least for the defense.

“I got the wrong EMT person,” Sawyer said the judge and the prosecution. “I’m tremendously embarrassed about this.”

He asked Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan for a recess so that he could attempt to locate at least two doctors, a nurse and an EMT – all people who allegedly treated Copeland the day of the shooting. He said attempts to serve subpoenas on the medical professionals had proven unsuccessful.

Sawyer said he would attempt to produce up to four witnesses today to testify on Copeland’s behalf.

The state concluded its case against Copeland at approximately 2 p.m. following testimony from the victim’s nephews, Ashley and Sonny Cravey; Deputy Ken Harris; Sheriff Dennis Meeks; state forensic experts and the case’s lead investigator, Wesley Snodgrass.

Meeks testified that two .38-caliber bullets were recovered from Copeland’s pants pocket, while Snodgrass testified the murder weapon – a .38-caliber revolver with one expended cartridge and five live rounds – was recovered from the room where Copeland spent the majority of his free time.

As Snodgrass testified, jurors were granted their first view of crime scene photos – including photos of the victim. Throughout the testimony, Copeland did not show any emotion.

The trial will resume today at 9 a.m.