One coronavirus death in Miami-Dade County is now being investigated as a murder, according to the Miami Herald
44-year-old Johnny Copeland passed away from COVID-19 on April 29th with obesity, hypertension, and pneumonia, all being contributing factors. However, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the primary cause of death as complications from a gunshot wound that Copeland sustained over two decades ago, which left him paralyzed. With the death now ruled a homicide, Miami detectives are on the hunt to find out who shot him, ultimately leading to his death.
“We are pulling the file,” Miami police spokeswoman Kenia Fallat confirmed.
Copeland was shot in the summer of 1997 when he was only 20-years-old. He spent over a month in a coma and was still hospitalized on his 21st birthday.
At the time of this death, Copeland was also a victim in an ongoing disabled adult neglect case against his wife, Jakeya Javon Brown, who was accused of abandoning him in an empty house in 2015. In the incident, Copeland was found by the homeowner, just days after suffering a heart attack by the homeowner. He was dehydrated and disoriented, lying next to his wheelchair covered in feces, urine, and bedsores. Responders also found that his trachea tube, which he used to help him breathe, had not been cleaned. The Florida Department of Children and Families opened up an investigation into suspected abuse, and a warrant was ultimately issued. However, Brown remained a fugitive until 2019 and has since pleaded not guilty. She is currently awaiting trial.
When he fell ill with the coronavirus, Copeland was residing at the North Dade Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where 38 residents tested positive, and at least three residents had died. Once Copeland began to complain of having trouble breathing, he was transferred to Jackson North Medical Center, where his condition quickly worsened.
Robin Jones, Copeland’s sister, who last saw her brother in early March, said that she was not aware that her brother had been transferred to the hospital until the hospital notified her. Now, She says she is frustrated that the facility didn’t do more to protect her brother from contracting the virus.
“I’m frustrated. How did they not do anything to prevent this?” Jones expressed. “To me, it’s negligence.”
Elsewhere in the complicated case, Miami police detectives are researching the shooting case to determine the exact date of the incident, and whether it took place within the city limits all those years ago.