Tuesday, June 06, 2000

Murder-for-hire sentences: 40+ years

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LONDON, Ky. — Two brothers who conspired to kill Ryle High School teacher Sarah K. Jackson were sentenced Monday to serve more than four decades in federal prison.

        Nevertheless, Ms. Jackson continues to fear for her life.

        “There was an attempt on her life,” said her attorney, Phil Taliaferro of Covington.

        “... I think she'll always be fearful. (U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman) gave appropriate sentences.”

        In February, a U.S. District Court jury in Covington convicted Randall Cope, 42, of Benton, and Terry Cope, 44, of Hendersonville, Tenn., of hiring a supposed contract killer to murder Ms. Jackson, who is Randall Cope's ex-lover, and Elizabeth and Ronald Nimmo, Terry Cope's ex-wife and her new husband, of Tennessee.

        The Copes also were convicted of charges stemming from Jan. 22, 1999, when Ms. Jackson's car was shot at while she and her teen-age son were leaving their Florence residence. They were not hurt.

        Judge Coffman gave a harsher sentence to Randall Cope, a former businessman who sent letters to his brother, a former Northwest Airlines pilot, that indicated a deepening rage against his ex-lover.

        He was sentenced to 567 months — or 47 years — in federal prison. It is in addi tion to the two years' he will serve for also sending harassing e-mail messages in 1998, after Ms. Jackson ended their four-year relationship.

        They were sent in her name to her friends and co-workers.

        Terry Cope was sentenced to 502 months — or almost 42 years — in federal prison.

        Federal prosecutors have said Terry Cope shot at Ms. Jackson in January 1999 in retaliation for the testimony she had given and was prepared to give against his brother.

        Randall Cope was in Kenton County Jail, awaiting sentencing when he further conspired to kill Ms. Jackson. He asked his cellmate if he knew someone who would kill Ms. Jackson.

        The cellmate tipped off the Secret Service.


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