Madison Co. man found not guilty in double-murder trial

WAFF 48's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 8:36 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2023 at 7:43 PM CST
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LIMESTONE Co., Ala. (WAFF) -UPDATE: The man who was accused of killing two people in 2017 was found not guilty on two capital murder charges by a jury on Friday afternoon.


ORIGINAL: The trial for a man accused of killing two people in 2017 started Monday after long continuances and delays.

Jacob Copeland is accused of shooting and killing Damian Ricketts and Devin Richard inside a vehicle in 2017. Copeland allegedly shot and killed the two men on Analicia Drive around 7 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2017.

Authorities first received the call after a resident reported finding a car in his driveway with two men shot to death inside.

Investigators on the scene discovered that both victims had been shot multiple times and their last contact was with Copeland. Investigators say when they went to Copeland’s home, he ran away.

Copeland was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder.

When Copeland first appeared in court in 2017, he asked the judge if he could argue self-defense.

In March 2021, a motion was filed by Copeland and his legal team arguing for immunity from prosecution. The motion stated that Copeland and his legal team would show that his use of deadly force was justified as self-defense.

Just over a month later, a motion to cancel the previous was filed. The new motion states that Copeland’s legal counsel believes he would not prevail in his argument of self-defense.

Court documents filed on Dec. 9, 2022, show that the prosecution does not intend to seek the death penalty for Copeland.

Copeland’s trial started Monday with jury selection. The mothers of the deceased testified in front of the court Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Copeland told law enforcement everything he was going to do in the statement he made to them. A close friend of Copeland also said Copeland told him he was going to kill the two victims.

The first deputy to arrive on the scene of the crime was questioned and his body camera footage was shown.

On Wednesday, witnesses in the case took the stand to describe what they saw from Copeland around the time of the alleged murders.

A video of a man named Lucas Barr was shown to the court, in the video Barr described Snapchats he received of Copeland rambling about the incident. Barr asked Copeland how he knew the people were dead to which Copeland responded, “that’s what’s the 30-clips for.”

During the defense’s cross-examination of Investigator Rodney Abney with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office, Abney said that a witness saw heroin packets in Rickett’s hands.

The defense also suggested that the prosecution only has Barr’s recollection of the Snapchat message and not the actual Snapchat message.

John Fleming who was a corrections officer for the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the crime took the stand to describe the booking of Copeland.

Fleming said that he denied Copeland’s request for a phone call and that Copeland asked to be housed in population. Fleming told Copeland that he had to speak with investigators before he could be housed in population.

Copeland said he needed to be around people to remain sane. After that, Copeland began going into detail about the killings.

Fleming says that Copeland told him he killed two people who were attempting to make a drug deal. Copeland said he did not want the heroin or to be addicted and alleged that the two people wanted Copeland to give him their money.

Copeland alleged that the two people would kill him and his family and pointed a gun at him.

After a recess, Captain Caleb Derden with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office took the stand and a video of his interview with Copeland was shown.

Copeland told Derden he went somewhere with marijuana and was driven to an ATM with three people in the car, he said he thought we were going to be robbed. Two of the people left and came back with a scale and heroin.

The two people allegedly tried to force Copeland to buy the heroin and even tried to convince him it was something else.

Copeland says that after the group left, he believed they would return and shoot everyone there. Copeland also received a text message that said, “you’re messing with the wrong people.”

Copeland told Derden that the two men pointed a gun at him and told him to give them everything he had. Copeland says he then shot them, he said he opened the door because he was shocked and did not plan on doing it.

When Derden asked Copeland where the gun was, he said he threw it into a lake in Triana.

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