Ray Copeland Murder Essay

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Murder; What exactly possesses one to commit such a heinous crime? How do we bring ourselves to harm our fellow man? What forces could possibly be at play to twist one’s mental psyche? Fear, anger, disasters, depression to hit the nail on the coffin so to speak. The story that I am going to unfold is one explaining such atrocities, our tale begins around the 1930’s on a seemingly peaceful farmland in Oklahoma. Ravaged the Great Depression, the Copelands struggled to make ends meet. Young Ray Copeland resorted to stealing livestock and forging false checks. It was not long before Ray Copeland was soon caught and served a year in jail. The Depression represents rapid social change and upheaval as represented by the Functionalist point of view.( …show more content…

To get around this problem, in the 1970’s Ray began to hire drifters and homeless men as farm hands so they could purchase livestock using the false checks; after they returned with the livestock, they would be sent elsewhere without a trace and for a short time it was working. Eventually, the police caught up to Copeland’s schemes and he went to jail again. Once Copeland was released in the 1980’s he resumed his scheme, and this time he made sure that his accomplices would not be traced back to him by getting rid of them for good. This resembles the Utilitarian perspective by trying to maximize pleasure while reducing pain, hiring homeless and killing them was how the Copelands did it. On August 20, 1989 A hired worker named Jack McCormick called a hotline that gave reward money to tips that could lead to an arrest. He called the hotline and told them that he had found bones and a human skull on the Copeland farm. …show more content…

Freeman, from Tulsa, Oklahoma; and 27-year-old Jimmie Dale Harvey, from Springfield, Missouri. Wayne Warner was later found in a barn under bales of hay that were stacked up to the ceiling; Denis Murphy was the last to be found and he was found in an old well near where Wayne Warner was found. All had been shot in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle. In addition to the bodies found investigators also found a quilt that Faye made from the workers clothing and a list that had twelve names on it and all were crossed out. Five of the men on that list were the bodies that were found and the others were all missing. Faye’s defense was that her husband committed the murders without her knowledge and that she was a victim of battered woman’s syndrome. After Faye’s conviction on November 01, 1990 a sheriff asked Ray what his thoughts about it were and he responded. "Well, those things happen to some you know.” On March 07, 1991 Copeland goes to trial for five counts of murder in the first degree, and in 1993 he died of natural causes while awaiting execution. Lastly on December 30, 2003, Faye Copeland died at the Morningside center nursing home in Chillicothe, Missouri.

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