A North Carolina man, dubbed George Zimmerman 2.0, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing an unarmed black man.
A jury found Chad Copley guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the death of Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, 20, in 2016, according to Essence Magazine.
Copley claimed self-defence in the shooting and killing of Thomas, who had been leaving a party in the same neighborhood. Copley, who also claimed to be a neighborhood watch member, told a 911 dispatcher that there were “hoodlums” in his neighborhood, and that he was “locked and loaded.”
“You need to send PD as quickly as possible,” he told the dispatcher. ” I am going to secure my neighborhood. I am on the neighborhood watch. I am going to have my neighbors with me.”
On cross examination, Copley admitted escalating the situation and lying to the 911 operator about several things, including that people were vandalizing the neighborhood, and that the shot he fired was a warning shot, reports Essence.
Thomas’ family said they were satisfied with the verdict. News outlets report that the jury spent less than two hours deliberating.
“Maybe my son can rest now, knowing his name is clear and people wouldn’t think he was a bad child,” Thomas’ mother told the courtroom before the sentencing. “He was an excellent child, sweet child, loving child, protective child.”
Copley’s lawyers plan on appealing his conviction to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.