LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Victor Copeland took the stand Thursday in his own defense, telling jurors that he believes the shooting was justified.
Copeland is charged with several crimes for a 2014 shooting in Lawton that sent two brothers to the hospital. One of them survived and the other died. He said he did it in self-defense.
Copeland said he got into an argument with Robert Anderson over the phone after Robert hit a woman he was hanging out with. He said Robert told him he was coming back to the house to fight.
Copeland testified that he told Robert repeatedly that he did not want to fight because they were in the same gang. Copeland said he went to get his gun after they got off the phone. He then had the woman drive him to pick up two of his friends. He said he asked his friends if they had guns.
He said when they got back to woman's house, Allen Anderson's car pulled up. He said Robert jumped out of the car, ran up to him and started yelling at him while keeping a hand in his pocket. He said he thought Robert had a gun, so he pulled out his gun and shot Robert, saying if he waited Robert would have shot him.
He said he was not trying to kill Robert and said after he shot him twice, Robert began to run away. But he thought Robert was going to shoot at him as he was running away, so he shot at him two more times.
Copeland said he then began running away as well and saw Allen running, but said he never shot at Allen. He said his two friends were the ones who shot Allen.
In cross-examination, the state focused on discrepancies between what Copeland testified to Thursday and what he told police during his interviews. He admitted to lying several times in his interviews, saying he did so because he didn't want to get in trouble.
The state then questioned why Copeland grabbed his gun before he picked up his two friends. He said it was because he was worried he would have to shoot Robert. The state also asked Copeland about several witnesses who testified that Allen told them Copeland shot them before he died. Copeland told the jury today that Allen had lied.
Then the prosecutor asked Copeland if he felt he did what was necessary to defend himself against Robert, who Copeland said never actually touched him. The state asked him if he felt it was justified to shoot someone five times simply because he saw that person moving their hand out of their pocket.
Closing arguments will continue Friday morning and then the case will be handed to the jury.