FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Fulton County jury found two men guilty Monday of shooting a 20-year-old man at least 40 times, killing him.A jury found Prentice McNeil, 26, and Matthew Mitchell, 27, guilty on all charges, including murder, felony murder and aggravated assault for the 2007 shooting death of 20-year-old Christopher Copeland.
Police said Copeland was gunned down as he exited the All In One Social Club in September 2007. Police said Copeland was surrounded by a group of men armed with assault rifles and handguns who opened fire on him. Police said more than 70 shots were fired and at least 40 hit Copeland.Authorities said the shooting was one of several retaliation attacks resulting from mounting tensions between two groups.
Several days after the killing, police arrested McNeil. Police arrested Mitchell in 2008 when his girlfriend, Veronica Johnson, came forward with information about the murder weapon, police said.Officials with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said the whereabouts of Johnson were unknown at the beginning of the trial and prosecutors feared she may dead.
During the course of the trial, DA investigators found Johnson in Florida and she was returned to Atlanta to testify against Mitchell.Officials with the DA’s office said that Johnson said Mitchell and his mother gave her money to leave town so she wouldn’t testify.McNeil and Mitchell were sentenced to life plus five years by presiding Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams.