A jury has been selected for the murder trial of the man accused of shooting and killing Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski last summer.
If convicted, 31-year-old Jonathan Copeland Jr. faces mandatory life in prison.
The 14-person jury is made up of seven men and seven women; all of whom are white. They’re gearing up for a high profile trial expected to last a full week.
Copeland entered the courtroom in a white dress shirt Monday morning to see the men and women of the jury who will decide his fate. Potential jurors were questioned one-by-one about their familiarity of the case and whether they have already formed an opinion.
Copeland’s defense admits, they’re worried jurors could get information they learned of the two other recent Milwaukee Police Officer line-of-duty deaths confused with that of officer Michalski.
“Unfortunately, just a couple weeks ago there was another police homicide in the city of Milwaukee involving another police officer this is not that case,” said the defense. “I want to make clear that this case we’re hearing about is an incident that happened in summer of 2018.”
Michalski was executing a search warrant on July 25, 2018 for the arrest of Copeland at a house near N. 28th and Wright. Copeland is accused of shooting Michalski in the head as he climbed a staircase.
“Officer Michalski fell after the first gunshot,” read the criminal complaint. “Once fallen, he never moved again.”
Copeland allegedly confessed to detectives after he was placed in custody.
“They got me for murder, I shot him,” stated the criminal complaint.
Timothy Nabors was in the courtroom to show support for his best friend, Copeland. He said no matter the outcome, no one comes out a winner in a murder trial.
“I wish that Mr. Michalski was with his family, people and still here doing his job and I wish my great, really good friend Jonathan Copeland was still out here to enjoy life with his family and friends,” Nabors said.
Michalski’s family members who were in court Monday declined to comment about the case.
After opening statements Tuesday morning, the jury will take a trip to the scene where Michalski was killed.