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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Jury Finds Lauderdale County Man Guilty of Being a Convicted Felon in Possession of Firearms Used in the Murder of a Pregnant Woman

Memphis, TN – After a three-day jury trial, Sequna Copeland a/k/a "Cutthroat", 30, of Ripley, Tennessee has been found guilty of two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty verdict today.

According to information presented in court, on June 18, 2018 in Lauderdale County, Tennessee a white minivan crashed on Highway 19. Two men emerged from the vehicle and ran in the direction of Maple Hill Circle. Multiple people identified these men as Sequna Copeland and Bryson Bonds. The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated the wreck and found a Canik 9mm pistol and a Harrington & Richardson .22 revolver in the minivan. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation lab tests, codefendant statements, and circumstantial evidence revealed that these two handguns were used to kill Jessica Hunt and her unborn child on Berry Morrow Road earlier that same morning.

In 2016, Copeland, along with three other members of the Gangster Disciples, robbed the Ripley Express convenience store. He along with another defendant evaded law enforcement for eight months and was subsequently placed on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s "Top 10 Most Wanted" list. On July 30, 2015, Copeland, while under oath and testifying as a witness in a proceeding before a Federal Grand Jury, made a false statement to prevent the punishment of two co-defendants. In July 2016, Copeland pleaded guilty to one count of perjury, and was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment followed by 3 years supervised release. In 2009, Copeland was convicted in Lauderdale County of Facilitation of the Second Degree Murder of Brian Bond, son of then Haywood County Sheriff Melvin Bond.

On October 1, 2018, the Lauderdale County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Copeland with two counts of Premeditated First Degree Murder, two counts of Felony First Degree Murder, one count of Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, one count of

Tampering with Evidence, one count of Felony Possession of a Firearm, one count of Employing a Firearm During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony, one count of Abuse of a Corpse, one count of Theft of Property, and one count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident. https://tbinewsroom.com/2018/10/06/tbi-top-ten-fugitive-captured-charged-in-lauderdale-county-homicide/

Sentencing for the federal firearms convictions is scheduled for November 22, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker, where Copeland faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "As his nickname indicates, ‘Cutthroat’ has a long criminal history of felony convictions involving violence, and has now been found guilty of possessing firearms that were used in the murder of Jessica Hunt and her unborn child, and while he was still on a period of supervised release from a prior felony conviction. Copeland has devoted his entire adult life to a career of criminal conduct in Lauderdale County, and that prior history has finally caught up with him. This federal conviction will remove this violent recidivist from the community for up to 10 years, will hopefully deliver justice for his victims, and will make Lauderdale County and West Tennessee a safer place."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Tennessee Highway Patrol, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ripley Police Department investigated this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Neal Oldham is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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Contact: 
Cherri Green Contact Public Affairs (901) 544-4231 Cherri.Green@usdoj.gov
Updated October 10, 2019