Posted at: 07/13/2012 11:48 PM
By: Dan Levy
TROY - In the fall, 17-year old Trinity Copeland would have begun her senior year at Troy High School. Friday night she was in the Rensselaer County Jail, facing a murder charge.
According to her deposition to police, Trinity Copeland shot her father in the head because if she didn't, he was going to kill both of them.
Trinity and her father, 47-year old Harlan Copeland lived together at 3022 Seventh Avenue in North Central Troy. Overnight Thursday into Friday morning, Trinity approached her father to tell him she was the one who used his debit card to purchase about $150 worth of goods in an Albany convenient store. Harlan became livid.
"I was in his room watching TV and he was on the couch," Trinity says in her police deposition. "He got up and went into his bedroom and got a gun. He came back into the living room and sat back down on the couch. Basically, he was telling me that he was so angry with me, that I was a liar and a sneak and I never tell him anything anymore. I was telling him that I was sorry. I told him that I wanted to tell him before he saw it on the video."
"He told me that he was gonna kill me," the two page deposition went on. "He was holding the gun and pointing it at me. My heart was pounding. He said that after he killed me, that he was going to kill himself because he wasn't going to jail for me misbehaving. I was like, dad, you don't have to do this, I will stay on punishment. He said that he does not want to hear it. He said that he was going to kill us both or I was going to have to kill him. I said that I don't want to. He was like then I'm gonna kill you right now. I said, no, no , no , no.l Then he said take the gun and I took it. I walked up to him and grabbed the gun and I back up and he said, aim it and then I aimed it. I was shaking. I said that I don't have to kill you if I don't have to do this. He sat up aggressively and said then give me the gun and I will. I was like, ok, ok. I aimed it and he told me what to say to cover it up. Then I asked him again please don't make me kill you, it is not that serious. He was like, I'm not going to say it again. I was like why do I have to kill you, why do I have to kill you? He said that either way, he was going to die and he was giving me a way out. He laid back on the couch and I aimed at him. He said do it. i told him that I loved him and that I was sorry. Then I did it. I shot him. I put the gun on the ground and looked at him. I said dad, dad."
On Friday night neighbors gathered on the front stoop of 3022 Seventh Avenue, just like they had done 24 hours earlier, when Harlan was with them.
"Harlan was a dude that he was an outgoing individual," said Edward Lewis, who lives in the second floor apartment above the Copeland's. "He sat out here every day joking and laughing with us."
On Friday night, candles were lit to make sure Harlan's memory lived on. Up and down Seventh Avenue, people were remembering Harlan, an electrician by trade, who, neighbors say, was always willing to help others.
Also in her deposition to police, Trinity admits she wore gloves during the shooting and wrapped a towel around the rifle barrel as a silencer. She says her father told her to do that.
Police say Trinity is the person who dialed 9-1-1 so that someone could come and help her father.
An autopsy on Harlan Copeland is scheduled for Saturday.
Trinity is being held without bail.