Suspect in killing is denied bail

Stabbing victim was a relative

STAFF WRITERMay 21, 2009 

— Watching his son face a judge on a murder charge Wednesday morning felt like death to Mitchell W. Langley.

Langley, with his wife and two friends beside him, watched with fear and anxiety as his son stood accused of killing his brother-in-law, Michael James Copeland.

Copeland, 34, was found stabbed to death inside the eastern Durham home of Mico Antyone Langley, 31, on Birds Nest Court about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Mico Langley was found about 30 minutes later near the intersection of Freeman and Clayton roads.

Mitchell Langley, 50, watched as his son faced District Court Judge Nancy Gordon. She denied bail for the younger Langley and scheduled his next court appearance for June 11. He waved as he was led out of the courtroom.

Langley said he was "a troubled spirit as to why senseless things like this take place." He said he still has questions about what happened Tuesday.

"Day by day you pray and you try to bring comfort to those who have taken losses on both sides of the family," he said. "You take it one second at a time."

Things have been rocky between Mico Langley and his wife, Sharon. The couple was married for three years when Langley was first convicted of assaulting his wife in 2001. The second time, in 2003, Langley struck her in the face with his fist, according to court records. Two years later, he poured a pot of boiling water on her lower right leg.

He was placed on probation for the 2001 and 2005 incidents and served 45 days in jail on the 2003 charge. He was also ordered to complete an abuser treatment program in 2005, court records show.

Investigators have not reported a motive or said whether the past incidents played a factor in the killing Tuesday, the city's ninth.

Copeland's convictions include marijuana possession and driving while impaired. Records show other charges, including resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license and shoplifting. His family declined to comment.

Mico Langley last worked as an electrician but recently has been unemployed. His father described him as someone who was not perfect but was bright and possessed a humble spirit.

"It's like a bad dream," Mitchell Langley said. "That in your heart of hearts you know it's a reality. But this type of reality we don't know, we'll have to run to see what the end will be."

stan.chambers@newsobserver.com or 919-932-2025

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