Court adjourns in Cope sentencing hearing - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Court adjourns in Cope sentencing hearing

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Christopher Cope, 26 (Source: Shreveport Police Department) Christopher Cope, 26 (Source: Shreveport Police Department)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Court adjourned for the day at 6:15 p.m. in the penalty phase of the Christopher Brian Cope trial. Witnesses testifying on behalf of the defense will be on the stand when court resumes at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The jury will soon decide on one of two possible sentences: The death penalty, or life in prison. That decision is expected very soon, because the sentencing phase, which began Wednesday morning, has almost concluded. The prosecution has called several witnesses and so has the defense team.

The defense team is pushing for a life sentence, telling the jury that Cope's limited mental capacity should be considered as mitigating circumstances.

A clinical psychologist testified that Cope's IQ is 77, and that the 85 to 115 range is considered average.

Cope, 26, was found guilty of first-degree murder Tuesday night in the shooting death of Shreveport Police Sgt. Timothy Prunty. Prunty was shot five times while standing outside a Circle K in southwest Shreveport on October 24, 2010.

A jury of 10 women and two men deliberated just more than an hour before returning the verdict.

Cope now faces the death penalty.

During the sentencing phase Wednesday morning, Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw and Prunty's twin brother, Matt, took the stand.

Shaw testified about the effect Timothy Prunty's death had on the entire police department, saying the twins felt the calling to be police.

Matt Prunty told the jury that he left the force following Tim's death, returning four days before leaving again.

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SIDEBAR: Cope trial continuing coverage

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Continuing coverage in the criminal trial of Christopher Cope, charged with 1st degree murder in the shooting death of Shreveport Police Sgt. Timothy Prunty, a 19-year-veteran of the force. More>>

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