RALEIGH, N. C. – A white man who fatally shot an unarmed black man after reporting “bandits” was found guilty of first-degree murder in North Carolina.
News media report that the jury was less than two hours deliberation to find Chad Copley guilty of premeditated murder in the death of 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Thomas, who was attending a party near Copley ‘ s house.
Prosecutors had said Copley appeared bent on violence when he told 911 operators he is “locked and loaded” to confront with people who he described as armed “gangsters” and launched a surprise attack.”
Defense attorneys acknowledged Copley fired the fatal shotgun blast, but said that he feared for his safety and was covered by the state’s Castle doctrine.
No gun was found at the scene.
Copley condemnation hearing is set for Friday.