Shawn Davis Charged in Death of Tawana Barnes Copeland

Judge Thomas Motley ordered Tawana Barnes Copeland’s ex-boyfriend held at D.C. Jail Monday, following a preliminary hearing where the court found probable cause to believe that he killed Copeland in her apartment in Southwest D.C. on Dec. 7, 2010.

Shawn Davis, also known as Shawn Jones, sat quietly through Monday’s preliminary hearing and did not appear to express any emotion. He is charged with first-degree murder while armed. His attorney, public defender Larry Kupers, argued that the case against Davis is “entirely circumstantial.”

There is no witness to say he was ever in her apartment. That he ever had a weapon. That he ever attacked the decedent.

Still, Judge Motley said Davis’ alibis, of which there were at least two, constituted “something of a reverse confession” and found probable cause for a first-degree murder charge.

Copeland’s family filled the courtroom, some members sometimes struggling to maintain composure.

I didn’t think one person could affect so many people’s lives as this man did,” said Brenda Sledge, Copeland’s mother. Sledge was joined in court by Copeland’s father, children, cousins and other extended family, some of whom traveled to D.C. from North Carolina for the hearing.

Davis is next expected in court for a felony status conference on May 13. Charging documents in the case are here.

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