The suspect arrested in the shooting death of a Milwaukee Police officer on Thursday has a long criminal record and was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant for drug dealing charges.
"The suspect was wanted for a violation of parole, possession of a controlled substance-heroin, and harassment intimidation domestic violence related," The Milwaukee Police Department said in a news release.
Jonathan C. Copeland, 30, was charged in absentia on May 18th with possession of heroin with intent to deliver.
According to a criminal complaint, an officer tried to pull Copeland over on May 16th, but he fled and eventually took off on foot and escaped. The officer searched the vehicle that Copeland abandoned and found baggies of heroin and cocaine as well as marijuana blunts inside. After running the vehicle identification number, the officer identified Copeland as the driver. He was charged two days later and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Thursday that Copeland had an "extensive" juvenile record, and his first adult criminal conviction occurred just months after he turned 18. In October of 2006, Copeland was charged with armed burglary, a Class E felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Later that year, however, Copeland pleaded guilty and Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge William Sosnay sentenced him to just 14 months in prison in addition to three years of extended supervision.
Only a few months after he was released from prison in 2008 and while he was still on extended supervision, Copeland was arrested again and charged with theft of movable property through the use of a firearm (a Class H felony punishable by a maximum sentence of six years in prison), two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm (a Class G felony punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in prison), and resisting or obstructing an officer (a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of nine months in prison). The charges carried the penalty enhancer of habitual criminality.
After reaching a plea deal, Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge Kevin Martens sentenced Copeland to two concurrent five-year prison terms on the felon in possession charges and dismissed but read in the other two counts. Copeland ended up serving just five years in prison and five more on extended supervision.
With the habitual criminality enhancers, Copeland could have faced maximum sentences of 10 years on the theft charge, 14 years on each of the felon in possession charges, and two years for the resisting charge for a maximum potential sentence of 40 years in prison, but his plea deal allowed him to serve just five years behind bars.