Woman pleads guilty to killing elderly man in 2018

A 41-year-old Lake City woman was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison after reportedly pleading guilty to the murder of an elderly man in the small town nearly four years ago in order to get money for methamphetamine.

The Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton.
The Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton.

Christy Viola Comer plead guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the death of J.C. Copeland in the overnight hours of Aug. 30, 2018, according to a news release from Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark. She was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 20 years, and remanded to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Corrections. Comer was booked into the Anderson County jail in Clinton on Aug. 31, 2018, after being arrested. Bond was set at more than $1 million.

According to Clark's release, Comer told authorities she chose Copeland as a victim because she thought he would be an easy target. As reported in The Oak Ridger in 2018, a warrant filed by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent John Hannon stated Copeland was believed to have been strangled to death at his home. The warrant also stated that Comer moved Copeland's body outside after his death and left it under the porch of his home at 615 Jacksboro Ave. in the town of Lake City, also known as Rocky Top, in order to hide it.

The TBI agent testified at the plea hearing in Anderson County Criminal Court.

District Attorney General Dave Clark
District Attorney General Dave Clark

After she was caught, Comer allegedly told authorities that items she had stolen from Copeland included a DVD player that she sold for $10 worth of meth, the release stated.

"Violence against the elderly is one of the most egregious crimes we prosecute," Clark stated in the release. "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.

"Our 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," he said.

Clark thanked Assistant District Attorney Emily Faye Abbott who prosecuted the case, the TBI, the Rocky Top and Knoxville police departments, and the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force.

Judge Ryan Spitzer accepted Comer's plea.

News editor Donna Smith can be contacted at (865) 220-5514. Follow her on Twitter @ridgernewsed and email her at dsmith@oakridger.com.

This article originally appeared on Oakridger: Woman pleads guilty to killing elderly man in 2018