Murder plea entered in 2018 slaying

A 41-year-old woman pled guilty last Thursday to the 2018 murder of an elderly Rocky Top man, and was sentenced to life in prison, plus 20 years.

J.C. Copeland was 83 at the time of his death. A release from the office of Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said Christy Viola Comer “made the decision to rob him (Copeland) to get money to buy methamphetamine.”

Clark said Comer told authorities she chose Copeland because, “she believed he would be an easy target.”

Comer killed Copeland on the night of Aug. 30, 2018, then hid his body under the front porch of his home.

Comer was arrested Aug. 31, 2018. She told authorities that among the items she stole was a DVD player, which she sold for $10 worth of methamphetamine.

After her plea to first-degree murder and aggravated robbery, Comer was remanded to custody of the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

She had been in custody at the Anderson County Detention facility since her arrest.

Anderson County Judge Ryan Spitzer accepted the plea.

Assistant District Attorney General Emily Faye Abbott prosecuted the case.

“This is an especially heinous case considering the vulnerability of the victim, Mr. Copeland,” Abbott told the court.

At the plea hearing, TBI Special Agent John Hannon testified for the state.

“Violence against the elderly is one of the most egregious crimes we prosecute,” Clark said.

“Hopefully the fact that Ms. Comer will spend the rest of her life in prison provides some level of comfort to Mr. Copeland’s family and deterrence to those who would hurt seniors.”

Clark said his office stayed in contact with the victim’s family “throughout this ordeal, and they were relieved to have this matter resolved and are satisfied with the outcome,” the diistrict attorney said

Clark thanked Abbott, the TBI, the Rocky Top Police Department, the Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force, and the Knoxville Police Department “for their work on this case.”