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Man on trial for murder of security guard testifies

Thomas Copeland, 31, told the jury that he shot and killed Frank Ledgett, 69, in self-defense.

Posted: Dec 11, 2019 6:54 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The man accused of murdering a security guard in October 2018 testified in front of the jury on Wednesday.

Thomas Copeland, 31, told the jury that he shot and killed security guard Frank Ledgett, 69, in self-defense.

Copeland said he, his then-girlfriend, and another couple went to Seasons Bar near Highway 99 and Roosevelt Boulevard on Oct. 4 for karaoke.

He testified he had six or seven drinks during the night and also had smoked marijuana and taken prescription pills that are not supposed to be mixed with alcohol. He told the jury he didn't believe his judgment was impaired at the time of the shooting.

ATTORNEYS: EUGENE SECURITY GUARD KILLING WAS SELF-DEFENSE

Copeland said after they left the bar in the early morning hours of Oct. 5, he saw Frank Ledgett in the parking lot in his security uniform. He said he shot and killed Ledgett after Ledgett used pepper spray on him and his friends. Copeland told the jury he saw Ledgett reaching for his gun and worried that he was going to shoot him and his friends.

Lane County prosecutor Erik Hasselman said in security footage you can hear Copeland arguing with Ledgett and see a woman holding Copeland back before the shooting.

Copeland said after the shooting, he and the three others he was with got into their cars and drove back to his home in Harrisburg. He told the jury he was worried that if he stayed at the scene of the shooting, police would kill him. He claimed that he was driving to the Eugene Police Department to turn himself in when he was pulled over by sheriff's deputies and arrested outside of a gas station in Harrisburg later that day.

Closing statements in the trial are expected to begin Thursday morning.

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