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Jonathan Copeland pleads guilty in death of MPD Officer Michalski

NOW: Jonathan Copeland pleads guilty in death of MPD Officer Michalski

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Jonathan Copeland Jr. is pleading guilty to first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski.

As part of the plea deal, the other counts of attempted homicide and possession of a firearm by a felon would be dismissed. By pleading guilty, Copeland is giving up his right to a trial. 

The Milwaukee Police Association released this statement, in part, "His guilty plea ensures that Officer Michalski's family won't have to endure the difficulties that a full trial can bring, as well as guarantees that justice will be served upon Mr. Copeland."

According to the defense, they met with Copeland late Monday night and came to the decision. On Tuesday, Jurors were expected to tour the scene of the crime at 28th and Wright following opening statements. 

Back in July, officers went into a home on Milwaukee's north side to arrest Copeland for drug charges. According to the criminal complaint, Copeland hid inside the home where officers were serving the search warrant and shot Officer Michalski as he was coming up the stairs. Michalski was a 17-year veteran with the department. 

"First-degree homicide is a life sentence. There isn't a lot you can negotiate under those circumstances so that isn't done without consulting with the family and the defendant making that offer to do it," Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said. 

Copeland will be back in court on May 3 for sentencing. 

Milwaukee Police released a statement saying the guilty plea allows the family of Officer Michalski continue with the healing process.

"The Milwaukee Police Department has a great working relationship with the MilwaukeeCounty District Attorney’s Office and appreciates all of the hard work that was put into prosecuting both of these tragic incidents. The Milwaukee Police Department would also like to thank the members of Wisconsin’s Division of Criminal Investigation for their dedicated work in these investigations. Lastly, the Milwaukee Police Department thanks the community for the overwhelming support it has provided during these trying times.'

The Milwaukee Police Association President Shawn C. Lauda released this statement: 

"The Milwaukee Police Association (MPA) is satisfied in knowing that Jonathan Copeland is now convicted for his heinous actions against our beloved Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski.  His guilty plea ensures that Officer Michalski's family won't have to endure the difficulties that a full trial can bring, as well as guarantees that justice will be served upon Mr. Copeland.
The MPA stands with the Michalski family and our brothers and sisters in blue in these difficult times and looks forward to Judge Wagner appropriately sentencing Mr. Copeland to life in prison without parole on May 3rd."
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