NC Supreme Court hears case of Raleigh man who shot man outside his home in 2016

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Chad Copley, a Raleigh man convicted of killing a 20-year-old man in his front yard in 2016, will appear Wednesday before the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Copley was sentenced to life in prison after shooting Kouren Thomas as he walked outside Copley’s home on Singleleaf Lane on Aug. 7, 2016.

Thomas was leaving a house party at another home at the time, and Copley claimed he heard a disturbance in front of his house and was trying to protect his family.

The state Court of Appeals overturned Copley’s life sentence in 2019, ruling that it was tainted by the prosecutor implying that racism was a factor. Copley was granted a new trial.

In 2018, jurors found Chad Cameron Copley, 40, guilty of first-degree murder in the Aug. 7, 2016, death of 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas.

Copley was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Copley has admitted he fired a shotgun through a window from inside his garage, but he claimed that Thomas was reaching for a gun as he approached Copley’s home and that he was only protecting his family.

In a 911 call played for jurors, Copley complained about “hoodlums” in his neighborhood racing cars and vandalizing property. He told the dispatcher that he was a member of the neighborhood watch and was “locked and loaded” and planning to “secure the neighborhood.”

Copley also admitted that he fired directly at Thomas and did not, as he had told police after the shooting, merely fire a warning shot.


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