Commonwealth v. Nancy Michelle Copeland- Judge Imposes 19-Year Sentence for Woman who Murdered her Roommate

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

​Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Nancy Michelle Copeland, 51 years old, formerly of the 1800 block South Streamline Court in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was formally sentenced for charges of Second Degree Murder, Use of a Firearm, Shooting in the Commission of a Felony, and Possession of Marijuana. Copeland was found guilty after a jury trial that began on January 7, 2019, and the jury recommended a sentence of nineteen (19) years plus a fine of fifty (50) dollars.  Today, Circuit Court Judge Steven C. Frucci formally imposed that sentence.

The Commonwealth's evidence proved that on December 1, 2017, Nancy Copeland and her roommate, David Gonzalez, lived with two other roommates in the 600 block of Westminster Lane in Virginia Beach.  Copeland and Gonzalez got into an argument about Copeland's dog.  Gonzalez began to make arrangements to move out of Copeland's townhome.  The argument continued through the afternoon.  Copeland armed herself with a loaded revolver and confronted Gonzalez in his bedroom. Copeland and Gonzalez began to struggle over Gonzalez's bedroom door.  As the door opened inward toward Gonzalez, Copeland pointed her gun at him and fired, striking him in the right hand and right chest.  Gonzalez fell to the floor, where he died after making his way into the hallway. The other roommates attempted to render aid to Gonzalez. 

Copeland called police and stated that there was a man suffering from a gunshot wound and that he had been trying to attack another roommate.  She also stated that he grabbed the gun she was holding and the gun went off.  She then stated, "I shot him."  During an interview with detectives, Copeland conceded that she was holding the gun when it went off, but claimed she fired accidentally.  She also admitted to retrieving the gun from her night stand in her bedroom and bringing it into the hallway where the argument with Gonzalez was taking place. 

Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Scott M. Lang and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Brandon C. Emery prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.