Indiana man gets 45 years in prison for cold case killing for cooperation against accomplice in triple murder

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A man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after admitting to helping an accomplice kill one of three people found bludgeoned to death in 1998 in an Indiana home in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors.

David L. Copley Jr., 47, was sentenced by a Lake County Judge on Friday he pleaded guilty last year to one count of murder in the death of Jerod Hodge, 18, of Chicago. Prosecutors agreed to the sentence in exchange for Copley to testify against James H. Higgason III.

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Authorities alleged the pair used pieces of wood to beat Hodge, Elva Tamez, 36, and Timothy Ross, 16, of Calumet City, Illinois, to death in January 1998, at Tamez’s Hammond, Indiana, home in an effort to get drugs and cash from them. 

Higgason was sentenced to 180 years in prison in June for the deaths of all three victims. Copley said Higgason instructed him to hit Hodge.

Hodge was struck with a board as he slept. Copley said he ran out of the house as Higgason bludgeoned Ross and Tamez.

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