Shawn Davis | Homicide Watch DC news about Shawn Davisen-usFri, 23 Mar 2012 11:12:48 -0400Shawn Davis Gets 18 Years for Murder of Tawanna Barnes-Copeland<p>Holding her granddaughter close to her side, Brenda Smith Sledge stood before her daughter's killer this morning to tell him how much her family had lost.</p> <p>"Shawn knew our family. He know how close we were," she said. "This is horrific." Her words broken by sobs.</p> <p>Sledge's daughter, <a href="" >Tawanna Barnes-Copeland</a>, was brutally stabbed to death early in the morning of Dec. 7, 2010. She had injured her leg at work the night before and was placed in a cast and sent home. She called her ex-boyfriend, <a href="" >Shawn Davis</a>, to help her fill a prescription for pain medication.<br /> <span id="more-8271"></span><br /> Instead of coming to her aid, Davis stabbed her with a kitchen knife, killing her in her bed. He then arranged the Southwest DC to look like a break-in had occurred and went to work.</p> <p>Detectives found him by tracking Barnes-Copeland's cell phone, which he took from her.</p> <p>Davis pled guilty to second-degree murder in November 2011, two months after being indicted on a charge of first-degree murder. He was sentenced today to 18 years in prison.</p> <p>He had few words on Friday for Barnes-Copeland's family.</p> <p>"I'm really sorry, It was uncalled for," he said simply. "I take responsibility. I was wrong."</p> <p>The sadness of Barnes-Copeland's family inside the courtroom was palpable during sentencing, and Prosecutor Chris Kavanaugh broke down, having to pause and collect himself, while making his final arguments for a lengthy prison term.</p> <p>Judge Gerald Fisher called the government's request for an 18 year sentence "generous."</p> <p>"This is too tragic for words," Fisher said. "His conduct was so extreme there is nothing for me other than the top sentence." </p> <p>While the case would have been tried as first-degree murder charge with a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison, prosecutors and detectives said the plea to second-degree murder was still appropriate. The case, while strong, was circumstantial, they said. Fisher said that the plea spared the family from having to go through what would have been a "gruesome" trial. </p> <p>The family's sadness inside the courtroom was countered shortly after sentencing by a sense of relief and gratitude that, while the family was gathered, permeated the hallway outside courtroom 312. </p> <p>"Thank God this is a solved murder. It's solved and we're satisfied with this time," said Sledge. Hugging detective Gus Giannakoulis, she said, "I've never worked with so many wonderful people."</p> Laura AmicoFri, 23 Mar 2012 11:12:48 -0400 Barnes-CopelandShawn Davis"Guilty" Plea in Death of Tawana Barnes Copeland<p><a href="" >Shawn Davis</a> pleaded guilty today to one count of second-degree murder while armed in the death of his ex-girlfriend, <a href="" >Tawana Barnes Copeland</a>. In pleading guilty, Davis faces a sentence of 14 to 18 years, USAO Spokesman William Miller said.</p> <p>The plea comes a little more than two months after Davis was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder while armed. A trial date had been set for July.<br /> <span id="more-6393"></span><br /> Copeland was 41-years-old when she was brutally stabbed inside her Southeast DC apartment on Dec. 7, 2010. Detectives believed that her home had been staged to look as though a robbery had taken place. Davis was arrested on suspicion of murder in the case a little more than a month later.</p> <p>At a preliminary hearing, Davis' attorney said the government's evidence against Davis was "entirely circumstantial." </p> <p>A press release from the US Attorney's Office is below.</p> <blockquote><p>District Man Pleads Guilty to December 2010 Murder Of Southwest Washington Woman</p> <p>- Defendant Staged the Scene to Make it Look Like the Victim Was Killed by a Burglar-</p> <p> WASHINGTON - Shawn Davis, 37, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to the murder of Tawanna Barnes-Copeland, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.</p> <p> Davis pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to the charge of second degree murder. He is to be sentenced March 2, 2012 by the Honorable Gerald I. Fisher.</p> <p> According to a statement of facts signed by the defendant and submitted to the Court, Davis and Barnes-Copeland started a romantic relationship in the summer of 2010, but after a few months, Barnes-Copeland broke it off. Davis still had feelings for Barnes-Copeland, and he was jealous that she had moved on. Notwithstanding the break-up, the two remained in contact, and Barnes-Copeland would call Davis from time to time to ask him for favors. </p> <p> In the early morning hours of December 7, 2010, Barnes-Copeland, 41, was at her apartment in the unit block of Galveston Place SW after suffering a leg injury at work. She called Davis and asked him if he would fill her prescription for pain medication.</p> <p> Davis left his home and went to Barnes-Copeland’s apartment. After he arrived that morning, the two began arguing about their past relationship. Davis was angry that Barnes-Copeland still called him and asked him for favors, yet she did not want to be in a relationship with him. During this argument, the defendant grabbed a knife from the kitchen and went to the bedroom, where he stabbed Barnes-Copeland more than 10 times in the chest and neck. </p> <p> After the murder, Davis tried to conceal his actions. Davis had previously lived with Barnes-Copeland, and he knew that her apartment had recently been burglarized by someone entering the kitchen window. Davis opened the kitchen window from inside the apartment and pushed the screen out. He also took Barnes-Copeland’s cell phone, and then arrived late for work. Barnes-Copeland’s body was not discovered until that evening, almost 12 hours later. </p> <p> With no eyewitnesses or earwitnesses to the murder, lead homicide detective Gus Giannakoulias, of the Metropolitan Police Department, carefully pieced together the circumstantial evidence, all of which conclusively pointed to Davis. </p> <p> On the evening of the murder, Davis provided the police with a false alibi, stating that he was at work at the time. The defendant’s cellular phone records placed the defendant in the area of the murder, and also showed him in contact with Barnes-Copeland before the murder. Moreover, the defendant took Barnes-Copeland’s phone from the apartment, and records showed that her phone was located at his place of employment (along with the defendant’s phone) at the time the defendant arrived at work, which was several hours late. Coupled with motive and forensic evidence, Giannakoulias soon obtained a warrant for Davis’s arrest in January 2011. A grand jury indicted Davis on one count of first degree murder in August 2011.</p> <p> In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department, including lead Detectives Gus Giannakoulias and James Wilson, as well as Detectives Anthony Greene, Norma Horne, Joshua Branson, and Gabriel Truby. He also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Larry Grasso of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker, and Paralegal Kwasi Fields. Finally, he thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, who led the grand jury investigation and prosecuted the case.</p></blockquote> Laura AmicoThu, 10 Nov 2011 16:50:40 -0500 Barnes-CopelandShawn Davis"Not guilty" plea in Death of Tawana Barnes Copeland<p><a href="" >Shawn Davis</a> entered a plea of "not guilty" today to one charge of first-degree murder while armed in the death of Southwest D.C. woman <a href="" >Tawana Barnes Copeland</a>.<br /> <span id="more-5445"></span><br /> Copeland was killed Dec. 7, 2010 in her Southwest D.C. apartment. She was found stabbed to death by MPD officers responding to a call for an unconscious female. According to charging documents in the case, Copeland was stabbed multiple times and her home was arranged to make it appear as though a robbery had taken place.</p> <p>Davis, her ex-boyfriend, was arrested a little more than a month later in connection with the case. </p> <p>At Davis' arraignment on the murder charge today, Judge Gerald Fisher set a trial date of July 11, 2012 in the case. </p> Laura AmicoThu, 01 Sep 2011 13:15:04 -0400 Barnes-CopelandShawn DavisJudge Gives Prosecution Until Aug. 19 to Indict in Tawanna Barnes Copeland Murder<p>Judge Gerald Fisher gave the government another three months to issue an indictment today in its case against <a href="">Shawn Davis</a>, who is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing of <a href="">Tawanna Barnes Copeland</a>.</p> <p>Copeland, a 41-year-old Georgetown University Hospital employee, was killed in her Southwest D.C. apartment on Dec. 7, 2010. Davis is Copeland's ex-boyfriend.</p> <p>Davis appeared in Judge Fisher's courtroom this morning for a felony status conference represented by defense attorney Lawrence Kupers. He did not express emotion at the hearing but fidgeted with the chain links of his shackle.</p> <p>At the hearing, prosecutor Chris Kavanaugh said that the case against Davis was strong but complicated, and asked for an additional 90 days to issue an indictment. Kupers argued that the case against Davis was weak, and said that there were no witnesses in Copeland's death and Davis was working at the time.<br /> <span id="more-3609"></span><br /> Kupers asked that if additional time for an indictment was granted, that Davis be removed from detention at a D.C. jail and placed in an alternative facility, such as a halfway home. Judge Fisher denied the request, and set the date for indictment as Aug. 19, 2011.</p> <p>Kupers also asked that the government preserve DNA evidence during testing in the case. (Biological material was found under Copeland's fingernail.) Judge Fisher said the government should make every effort not to consume the DNA evidence, and said that the defense could have the option of having its own investigator present if testing goes forward.</p> <p>Charging documents in the case are available <a href="/2011/01/18/ex-boyfriend-suspected-of-killing-georgetown-university-hospital-employee-in-her-home/">here</a>.</p> Karen FrantzFri, 13 May 2011 18:17:02 -0400 Barnes-CopelandShawn DavisShawn Davis Charged in Death of Tawana Barnes Copeland<p>Judge Thomas Motley ordered <a href="">Tawana Barnes Copeland's</a> 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.</p> <p><a href="">Shawn Davis</a>, 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."</p> <blockquote><p>There is no witness to say he was ever in her apartment. That he ever had a weapon. That he ever attacked the decedent.</p></blockquote> <p><span id="more-1859"></span><br /> 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.</p> <p>Copeland's family filled the courtroom, some members sometimes struggling to maintain composure.</p> <p>"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.</p> <p>Davis is next expected in court for a felony status conference on May 13. Charging documents in the case are <a href="">here</a>.</p> Laura AmicoMon, 24 Jan 2011 18:28:56 -0500 Barnes-CopelandShawn DavisEx-Boyfriend Suspected of Killing Georgetown University Hospital Employee in her Home<p>Shawn Davis, the man arrested last week in connection with the stabbing death of 41-year-old Georgeotown University Hospital employee <a href="">Tawana Barnes Copeland</a>, is believed to be victim's ex-boyfriend and may have arranged the crime scene in Copeland's home to look like a burglary, charging documents in the case allege.</p> <p>Davis, also known as Shawn Jones, was presented with first-degree murder charges Thursday, Jan. 13. The 36-year-old is currently in custody at D.C. Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in the case for Jan. 24, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom 320 (Judge Gerald Fisher).<br /> <span id="more-1714"></span><br /> Copeland's body was found in her Southwest D.C. apartment on Dec. 7, 2010 at about 8:40 p.m. According to charging documents in the case, Copeland's face and neck were covered in dried blood. A later autopsy revealed multiple stab wounds.</p> <p>Davis is believed to have been in touch with Copeland on the day of her murder. A witness told police that the two broke up in late Septmeber 2010 and that Davis was upset over the ending of the relationship.</p> <blockquote><p>A third witness hereinafter referred to as W-3 reported that the [Copeland] and [Davis] ended their relationship in the later part of September of 2010. The [Copeland] told W-3 that [Davis] was angry about the breakup. The [Copeland] advised W-3 that her vehicle's tires had been flattened by [Davis]. [Copeland] also told W-3 that another occasion [Davis] had broken the [Copeland's] vehicle's front head light and rear tail light. [Copeland] never reported either incident to law enforcement. [Copeland] also reported to W-3 that [Davis] texted her several messages using profanity because he was angry over the demise of the relationship.</p></blockquote> <p>According to charging documents in the case (posted below), Davis told investigators that the break up had been "amicable" and that he had stayed in touch with Copeland, even though he was "hurt" that she was dating someone else.</p> <p>According to the documents, investigators also believe that the crime scene-- Copeland's home-- may have been arranged by her attacker to look like a burglary.</p> <blockquote><p>...the kitchen window [was] open, the blind was pulled up, and the screen appeared to be pushed outward. A metal pole was observed on the kitchen floor. The metal pole appeared to be utilized to secure the kitchen window. All ofthe remaining windows in the apartment had a similar type of metal or wood object on the interior portion of the window to prevent the window from being pried open from the outside... There were no signs of forced entry to the apartment door to include damage to the door knob or to the dead bolt. It was your afiiant's conclusion, based on his experience in investigating violent crimes including home invasions and homicides, that the crime scene was staged to give the appearance that it was a burglary.</p></blockquote> <p><script src=""></script><br /> <script> DV.load('', { width: 450, height: 600, sidebar: false, container: "#viewer-26289-shawn-davis-complaint" }); </script></p> <p><script src=""></script><br /> <script> DV.load('', { width: 450, height: 600, sidebar: false, container: "#viewer-26290-shawn-davis-cja-elig" }); </script></p> <p><script src=""></script><br /> <script> DV.load('', { width: 450, height: 600, sidebar: false, container: "#viewer-26291-shawn-davis-arraignment" }); </script></p> Laura AmicoTue, 18 Jan 2011 15:28:21 -0500 Barnes-CopelandShawn DavisPreliminary Hearing in Tawanna Barnes-Copeland Murder to be Held Jan. 24<p>Shawn Davis, a 36-year-old Southeast D.C. man, was charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the December 7 stabbing death of <a href="">Tawanna Barnes Copeland</a> in her Southwest D.C. apartment.</p> <p>Davis is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in D.C. Superior Court on Jan. 24. He is being held at D.C. jail.</p> <p><em>I'm out of town on family business today. Will post charging docs Monday. Laura</em></p> Laura AmicoFri, 14 Jan 2011 15:50:14 -0500 Barnes-CopelandShawn DavisArrest Made in the Homicide of Tawanna Barnes-Copeland<p>This just in from Metro PD:</p> <blockquote><p>January 13, 2011</p> <p>Arrest Made in the Homicide of Tawanna Barnes-Copeland</p> <p>( Washington, DC)- Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch have announced an arrest has been made in the homicide of Tawanna Barnes-Copeland.</p> <p>On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at approximately 8:40 pm, units from the Seventh District responded to the unit block of Galveston Place, SW, to investigate the report of an unconscious person. Upon their arrival, they discovered a victim lying in an apartment suffering from apparent stab wounds. Personnel from the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and determined the decedent, 41 year-old Tawanna Barnes-Copeland, had no signs consistent with life. She was later pronounced dead and her death was ruled a homicide by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.</p> <p>On Wednesday, January 12, 2011, at approximately 3:20 pm, 36 year-old Shawn Davis, of Southeast, DC was arrested and charged with Murder One While Armed in the homicide of Tawanna Barnes-Copeland.</p></blockquote> Laura AmicoThu, 13 Jan 2011 23:58:22 -0500 Barnes-CopelandShawn Davis