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Man in alleged rape case still without attorney

Judge may consider moving trial date


With less than a month before a trial is set to start for a husband and wife accused of first-degree rape and complicity, respectively, the husband has still not found an attorney.

The attorney for the wife asked Judge Charles Cooper Wednesday to consider rescheduling the trial in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Cooper spoke directly to Don Copley, 68, of 1518 County Road 70, Proctorville, charged with 51 counts of first-degree rape, asking if he had found an attorney.

Columbus-based attorney Sterling Gill, representing Copley’s wife Beverly, 56, charged with 41 counts of first-degree complicity to rape, spoke on the couple’s behalf.

“I assisted (Don Copley) in contacting several attorneys,” Gill said.

Gill said several attorneys would like to take on the case, but were concerned about the short time frame between now and the Sept. 17 trial date. Gill asked for a continuance for his client and for time for Don Copley to find an attorney.

“I think these people know the gravity of the offenses they have been charged with,” Gill said. “… They know they won’t just melt away.”

In court Aug. 22, the Copleys sought new representation for their cases, prompting their court-appointed attorneys to withdraw.

Ironton attorney Chris Delawder and Ashland, Ky., attorney Mike Curtis, previously represented Don Copley. Attorney Mike Gleichauf represented Beverly Copley, but withdrew after the woman hired Gill.

Don Copley attempted to hire attorney Robert Krapence, also of Columbus, but Krapence also withdrew because of a scheduling conflict with the trial dates.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson said Delawder and Curtis were not aware until last week’s court appearance that their client had hired his own attorney, Krapence.

“The counsels of record didn’t know Krapence had filed a notice of appearance,” Anderson said.

Anderson contended that the trial date has been set since July 11 and the Copleys should have told any new attorney of the dates before they hired them. Anderson also said witnesses called in the case have already made arrangements to be in Ironton for the trial on the dates set.

“When could Mr. Krapence be ready to try this case?” Cooper asked Gill.

Gill said both he and Krapence could be ready for trial the week of Sept. 24 or Nov. 26.

“If the trial is going to be continued, I would like to consult with the victims in the case,” Anderson said.

Cooper said he would “seriously consider” the Sept. 24 date, but wants to rule on pending motions in the case.

The motions include consolidating the two separate cases into one. There are also motions to amend complaints in the case and to correct dates mentioned in the indictments.

In March, the couple voluntarily turned themselves into authorities after learning of the indictments against them that were issued by the Lawrence County Grand Jury in late February.

Don Copley’s charges included “engaging in sexual conduct” with four girls who were under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged incidents.

The indictment alleges 10 incidents with one victim took place between 1991 and 1997. It alleges 20 incidents took place with the second child between 1991 and 1996.

Copley is accused of criminal activity with the third child 10 times between 1993 and 1996 and 10 more times between 1996 and 2001. The last indictment alleges one act with the fourth child sometime between June and August of 2011.

Beverly Copley’s 41 charges were first-degree complicity to rape.

The indictment alleged she aided her husband in 41 of his 51 alleged sex crimes.

The couple remains out on bond and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted of the charges.