WAYNE, W.Va. — A Wayne County man sentenced Friday to a 60-year prison sentence for murder and robbery will have a chance for parole in 20 years.
Willie Copley, 27, of Dunlow, shot and killed James Spurlock, 46, of Radnor, on May 31, 2012, during an attempt to steal prescription drugs.
Copley pleaded guilty last month to robbery and entered a no contest plea to the charge of murder.
Wayne County prosecutor Tom Plymale admitted Friday it’s unusual to take a no contest plea on a murder charge.
“His position was he did not go in there with the intent on murder,” Plymale said. “We had to provide the factual basis that established first-degree murder.”
Copley claimed there was a struggle and that he and Spurlock exchanged gunfire when Spurlock was killed. Prosecutors, however, alleged Spurlock was dragged into another room where Copley killed him. The key witness for the prosecution was Spurlock’s 7-year-old son.
The effect of the no contest plea is basically the same as a guilty plea. The judge sentenced Copley to 60 years in prison for robbery and life in prison with a chance for parole on the murder plea. Plymale said the prison time would run concurrently and Copley would have a chance for parole in 20 years.
A co-defendant in the case, 19-year-old Dylan Jarrells, has pleaded guilty to robbery and is serving time at the Anthony Center for youthful offenders.
Plymale said his case file is full of drug-related crimes that end in tragedy.
“These are people stealing or committing other crimes to get their hands on drugs or just the actual drug transactions themselves,” he said.