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Jury finds Delaware County man guilty of murder in shotgun slaying

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MUNCIE, Ind. — A jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes on Friday before finding a Delaware County man guilty of killing his neighbor.

Cy Erik Alley, 30, was found guilty of murder in the August 2002 shooting death of 59-year-old Gerald Lee Copley.

Both men resided along Delaware County Road 500-N south of Albany.

Alley’s defense attorneys — Vincent Walker and Ron Smith — pursued an insanity defense, and said their client somehow became convinced Copley was “hacking” into his electrical service at his home or his cellphone.

Alley also claimed the federal government had directed him to confront Copley about his concerns.

More: Delaware County man pursuing insanity defense as trial in neighbor’s slaying begins

Prosecutors Eric Hoffman and Steve Sneed said Alley twice went to the victim’s home on the day of the slaying. On his second trip there, he shot Copley four times with a shotgun, including a fatal blast to the head.

When he took the witness stand on Thursday, Alley claimed Copley was armed with a fence post when he fired the shotgun blasts.

In his closing remarks to jurors on Friday, Hoffman noted no fence post had been recovered in the wake of the homicide.

“Make no mistake about this, folks,” the Delaware County prosecutor told jurors. “This was a cold-blooded murder. … This defendant had the nerve to come in and tell you he was acting in self defense.”

Hoffman noted one of the shotgun blasts hit Copley in the back, and that the victim had collapsed before he was shot in the face.

The prosecutor also recalled Alley had returned to his pickup truck and reloaded his shotgun before standing over the victim and firing the fatal blast.

Hoffman said in his initial interview with investigators, Alley said nothing about the victim being armed with a fence post or that the shooting had somehow been in self defense.

Two mental health professionals who examined Alley testified they did not believe he was legally insane at the time of the killing.

In his closing remarks Friday, defense attorney Smith told jurors that they, and not the court-appointed psychiatrist and psychologist, had “the last word” on whether his client had been insane.

Jurors had the option of finding Alley guilty but mentally ill of murder, but their guilty verdict did not refer to mental illness.

In Indiana, a murder conviction carries a maximum 65-year prison term.

During a second phase of the trial, the jury quickly found Alley guilty of using a firearm to commit a crime, making him eligible for an enhancement that could add up to 20 years to his sentence.

Senior Judge Marianne Vorhees set sentencing for Oct. 16.

While jurors during the trial viewed gruesome photos from the crime scene, Hoffman concluded his presentation Friday displaying a photograph showing a smiling Copley — an outdoorsman who was married to wife Pamela for 40 years and was the father of two children — taken during a fishing outing.

“Nothing justified what happened to that man,” the prosecutor said.

Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on Muncie Star Press: Jury finds Delaware County man guilty of murder in shotgun slaying

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