Murder suspect pleads not guilty

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The second suspect in the August murder of a high school student pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Randy Sherrod Copeland Jr., 19, entered pleas of not guilty to one count of first-degree murder, four counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, one count of shooting in the commission of a felony and three counts of attempted malicious wounding.

Copeland and Dontaz Latray Wilkerson, also 19, are accused in the Aug. 1 shooting death of 18-year-old Lakeland High School student TyQuan Lewis.

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Wilkerson pleaded not guilty last month.

The incident reportedly began at a back-to-college party at the Bethlehem Ruritan clubhouse. At 12:43 a.m., a female 911 caller said there was a fight at the party, and that some people had guns.

City spokeswoman Debbie George said at the time that Lewis and Wilkerson left the party and met up on Spruce Street, where they argued. They departed that location and finally met again on Walnut Street, near Booker T. Washington Elementary School. A 911 call at 1:38 a.m. reported shots fired in that area.

Wilkerson has a jury trial set for May 12-13. Copeland requested a trial by judge, which is scheduled for July 28-29.