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Crime Scene
Posted at 09:43 AM ET, 11/11/2011

D.C. man pleads guilty to killing ex-girlfriend in 2010

A District man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend, prosecutors said Thursday.

Shawn Davis, 37, admitted to fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend, 41-year-old Tawanna Barnes-Copeland, on Dec. 7, 2010, and staging the scene to make it look like she was killed by a burglar, according to the plea.

According to court documents, Davis and Barnes-Copeland were involved in a romantic relationship in the summer of 2010 but after a few months, Barnes-Copeland broke it off.

Davis reportedly still had feelings for Barnes-Copeland and was jealous that she had moved on, prosecutors said, but the two remained in touch, and Barnes-Copeland occasionally asked him for favors.

On Dec. 7, Barnes-Copeland was at her apartment on Galveston Place SW after suffering a leg injury at work. Early that morning, prosecutors said, she called Davis and asked if he would fill her prescription for pain medication.

Davis went to Barnes-Copeland’s home and shortly after, the two began arguing. Prosecutors said Davis was angry that she asked him for favors even though she didn’t want to date him.

In the course of the fight, Davis grabbed a knife from the kitchen and returned to Barnes-Copeland’s bedroom, where he stabbed her more than 10 times in the chest and neck, according to court documents.

Davis then tried to cover up the slaying. Barnes-Copeland’s home had recently been burglarized by someone who entered through the kitchen window.

Davis staged a similar scene by opening the kitchen window and pushing the screen out, prosecutors said. He took Barnes-Copeland’s cell phone and then went to work.

Barnes-Copeland’s body was discovered that evening, nearly 12 hours later.

According to prosecutors, there were no witnesses but the circumstantial evidence gathered by detectives pointed to Davis.

Davis said he was at work at the time, but cell phone records placed him in the area of the murder and also showed that he had had contact with Barnes-Copeland that morning. Additionally, location data records showed Barnes-Copeland’s cell phone at Davis’s place of employment.

Davis was arrested in January and indicted on one count of first-degree murder in August. He pleaded guilty to a second-degree charge this week. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2012.

By  |  09:43 AM ET, 11/11/2011

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