A Rocky Top woman was indicted earlier this month by the Anderson County grand jury on a total of five felony charges related to the strangulation death and robbery of an 83-year-old man last August.
38-year-old Christy Viola Comer is facing one count of first-degree murder for the killing of J.C. Copeland, as well as two more charges of first-degree murder for allegedly killing Copeland while committing two other crimes, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, for which she was also indicted.
Comer had initially been charged with criminal homicide in the case.
Copeland’s body was found partially wrapped in a blanket under the porch of his mobile home on Jacksboro Avenue in Rocky Top on the morning of August 31st, 2018. Investigators say that he was strangled to death, most likely with rope found on and near his body.
Comer allegedly planned to rob Copeland, who was described as a “sweet old man” because she believed that he would be an easy target. Comer is accused of stealing a DVD player, pills, pocketknives, old cell phones and other items from Copeland’s home, as well as his car. Investigators say that Comer traded the DVD player for a $10 bag of meth.
Comer was found in Knoxville that same day after police there found Copeland’s abandoned, green Mercury Marquis in a parking lot in a high-crime, high-drug area on North Broadway, and discovered it had been reported stolen from Rocky Top.
During an interview with TBI agents following the incident, Comer admitted that she had intentionally stolen property from Copeland’s home and that she had intentionally moved Copeland’s body outside of his residence in an attempt to cover up the crime.
The TBI investigated Copeland’s death at the request of Seventh Judicial District Attorney General Dave Clark and with help from the Rocky Top Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, and Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force.
Comer has been in custody since the murder, and will be arraigned on the charges March 29th in Anderson County Criminal Court.