Judge imposes 19-year sentence for Virginia Beach woman who murdered roommate in 2017

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Virginia Beach woman who was found guilty of murdering her roommate in 2017 was formally sentenced Tuesday.

A circuit court judge formally imposed a 19-year sentence for 51-year-old Nancy Michelle Copeland on charges of Second-Degree Murder, Use of a Firearm, Shooting in the Commission of a Felony and Possession of Marijuana.

Nancy Copeland

The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on December 1, 2017, Copeland and her roommate, David Gonzalez, lived with two other people in the 600 block of Westminster Lane in Virginia Beach when Copeland and Gonzalez got into an argument about Copeland’s dog.

Gonzalez began to make arrangements to move out of Copeland’s townhome and the argument continued through the afternoon.

Copeland armed herself with a loaded revolver and confronted Gonzalez in his bedroom. The two began to struggle over Gonzalez’ bedroom door. As the door opened inward towards Gonzales, Copeland pointed her gun at him and fired, hitting him in the right hand and right chest.

Gonzalez fell to the floor and died after making his way into the hallway. Their other roommates tried to give aid to him.

Copeland called police and told them there was a man suffering from a gunshot wound and that he had been trying to attack another roommate. She also said that he grabbed the gun she was holding and the gun went off.

She then told police, “I shot him.” During an interview with detectives, Copeland conceded that she was holding the gun when it went off but claimed she fired accidentally. She also admitted to retrieving the gun from her nightstand in her bedroom and bringing it into the hallway where the argument with Gonzalez was taking place.

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