Bid to kill wife brings 15-year term

February 06, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A Pasadena man was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison for trying to kill his wife by taking her to the mall on her birthday, telling her to close her eyes and wait for a surprise, then shooting her in the head.

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. said he imposed the sentence on 57-year-old Arthur D. Copeland because life expectancy tables suggest that is about how much longer he has to live.

"I am punishing here for simple retribution -- for retribution and to convince the community that the courts are working and are doing their job," Judge Thieme said.

Copeland, who was convicted in September of first-degree attempted murder, also was ordered to pay $20,994 restitution for his wife's medical bills and lost wages.

Copeland met his wife near their waterfront home on Rock Hill Road about 7 p.m. Jan. 17, 1992 -- her 59th birthday -- and told her to follow him to the Marley Station Mall, according to testimony at his trial.

Once there, he climbed into her car, told her to close her eyes, shot her, then chased her and pistol-whipped her as she tried to get away.

The victim, Mary Maxine Copeland, said after yesterday's hearing that she was disappointed in the sentence.

"I really would have liked it to be longer. He's got a mother who's 98 and still living," she said. "I'm not kidding."

During the sentencing hearing, Copeland's first wife, his former

roommate and two co-workers at the Fort Meade computer firm where he worked as a systems analyst described him in glowing terms.

Joan Copeland of Frederick, the ex-wife, said despite their divorce in 1984, she and Copeland remained friends and he regularly made it to their children's sporting events and parent-teacher conferences.

Christine Webb of Silver Spring, a co-worker, called him a "beautiful, kind, wonderful and generous man."

Mary Copeland, a 60-year-old public health analyst for the federal government, said the shot left her blind in one eye. It also impaired her senses of smell, vision and taste. She has had four operations on her eyes and face this year, anticipates having two more, and faces roughly $20,900 in lost wages and expenses for therapy.

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