URGENT APPEAL TO LOCATE WITNESSES
Saturday December 14, 2002 at approximately 10.30pm.
Anyone who was at, near or passing by Peabody's Pub in the 4900 block of Pearl Road in Cleveland, Ohio and witnessed a woman shoot herself in the open doorway of a 1996 Teal Blue Plymouth Voyager minivan is urged to contact us. Thank you.
On December 14, 2002, Angel Copen shot herself in the head in the parking lot of Peabody's Pub in Cleveland, right in front of a horrified Lonnie Prather. She was Lonnie’s partner at S&J Custom Body Shop, Cleveland. There was only one witness besides Lonnie, and that witness continues to be urgently sought.
Lonnie managed to get Angel into the van, through the open side door in which she was standing when she shot herself, and tried unsuccessfully to find her keys to drive her to the hospital.
In his shock at seeing Angel shoot herself, Lonnie grabbed the duffel bag from which Angel had taken the pistol, dropped Angel's pistol inside and, going into the bar to find help, saw Chris Wells, a friend with whom they had been drinking earlier in the bar, and told him to get rid of it. The bag contained some drug paraphernalia and another pistol, belonging to Angel. Lonnie then went into the bathroom, threw up, and came back out intending to get someone to call 911.
Lonnie was in such shock that he failed to realize he had a cell phone clipped to his shirt pocket. By then, someone had found Angel; the paramedics had been called, and Angel was taken to the hospital.
Lonnie had a friend drive him to the hospital and upon arrival, having been followed by a police car, he was placed in the back of a police car for some time and intermittently questioned.
Lonnie told people at the scene, as well as the officer at the hospital, what had happened, that he had watched Angel suddenly pull out the gun, saying "Maybe I should just end it all", and point the gun to her head and pull the trigger.
There was no gunshot residue test performed on Angel's hands. When they began treating Lonnie like he was a suspect, (based on finding the duffel bag), Lonnie insisted that they perform a gunshot residue test on him. This results came back – negative, twice!
Lonnie was eventually placed in custody and charged with murder, two days before Angel died. He was also charged with tampering with evidence based upon moving the duffel bag, and with possession of criminal tools, based upon the contents of the bag.
Lonnie Prather A452-090
Grafton Correctional Institution
2500 Avon Belden Road
Grafton, OHIO 44044
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At Trial, Lonnie's lawyer failed completely to provide any defense. He failed to contact a variety of witnesses who were all aware of Angel's mental state, in the days and hours leading up to her suicide; this included the fact she was taking vast amounts of Percocet, Paxil and alcohol (all of which were found in her system in the Toxicology Report), that she was extremely depressed, and had often spoke of killing herself. This was despite Lonnie providing counsel with a list of people, including close friends of Angel's, such as Darryl Cantene, Donnie Fabish, Chuck Decker, Al Schneider, Chuck Berger, Andrew Kiss and David Wise, and Chris Wells among others. Chris testified after being subpoenaed by the State, but he was never interviewed by counsel, nor did he have the opportunity to testify about Angel's depression and chemical use. Lonnie urged his lawyer to call the EMS crew and a psychiatrist (to testify about the effects of Paxil, Percocet and alcohol on depression and suicidal ideation). Counsel failed to call any of them.
Counsel even refused to permit Lonnie to testify on his own behalf! Angel's shirt came up missing during the investigation, despite a Police Officer mentioning in his testimony about a "garment with blood on it" being found in the van. Counsel never went into it, despite the fact that it should have had gunshot residue on it.
Lonnie was convicted of all charges. His attempts to obtain relief have been fruitless. He has no funds to hire an investigator. Despite submitting "proffered" draft Affidavits from several proposed witnesses (which reflected their anticipated hearing testimony), in addition to other errors during the Trial, as well as what was never brought to Trial, the Courts have refused to give Lonnie a hearing.
Lonnie was able to obtain several Notarized Affidavits; from Traci Jenkins, Andrew Kiss and Attorney David Wise, all attesting to having close contact with Angel in the days, hours and minutes before her suicide, that she repeatedly exhibited symptoms of depression and verbally ideated suicide on many occasions, in addition to having ingested large quantities of Percocet and alcohol just before her suicide. However, the Courts continue to refuse to conduct a hearing. The Notarized Affidavits and proferred Affidavits from some of the extant witnesses are available at the end of this web-page.
· Lonnie had absolutely no motive to kill Angel
· Lonnie has no criminal history
· There were many trial errors and instances of prosecutorial misconduct, (including falsely claiming that Lonnie never told anyone that Angel had shot herself, implying that he made it up after he was charged,) which is rampant in Ohio at criminal Trials, and well documented as an integral commonality in wrongful convictions that are later discovered via DNA, etc.
- The lawyer who conducted the "defense" was inept, ill-prepared and failed completely to defend Lonnie.