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Double Murder Rocks Downtown Columbus

Greg Merchant and Austin Shepherd remove Caudill’s body from the scene.

Columbus Police responded to a double shooting around 12:30 am Wednesday at The Elbow Room bar on 418 2nd Ave. N. A gunman later identified as 43 yr. old Daniel Paul Copple of Lucerne Valley, Ca. opened fire on two patrons of the pub, killing one man instantly.  The second victim succumbed to his wounds early Wednesday morning at BMH-GT.


Copple, a worker at the Severstal plant in Lowndes County, had been pursued by Columbus Police throughout the night in connection with several incidents around town. At approximately 9:15pm, police responded to the lobby bar area of the Holiday Inn at 1200 Hwy. 45 North for a disturbance call. A suspect matching Copple’s description left shortly before police arrived, in a white Ford F-150. Witnesses say the man was acting erratically at the bar, threatening patrons before “peeling out” of the parking lot.
Around 11:40 pm, police rushed to the scene of a pedestrian hit-and-run on the corner of 8th St. N. and 3rd Ave. N.  A caller had told E-911 operators that a white pick-up truck with California plates had hit a pedestrian and quickly left the scene. It is believed that the driver intentionally drove towards the victim, later identified as Carl Edward Allen, possibly trying to strike him twice. Police arrived to find the intersection empty, but followed the witnesses tip to The Gilmer Inn on 321 Main St. (Carl Allen was transported from a home on1204 7th St. S. about 45 minutes later to BMH-GT. Allen had minor scrapes and bruises, but did lose a tooth in the collision-CK)

The blood-smeared truck.

Lowndes County Lt. Clint Sims and Dpty. Eric Granderson joined Columbus Police Officer Lamar Peacock and Auxiliary Officer Eric Lewis at the Gilmer and discovered Copple’s 1997 Ford –F-150 in the rear parking lot, with blood splatters consistent with a collision on the front driver’s side quarter panel. The officers then proceeded to check a room that was believed to be registered to Copple on the second floor of the motel. As they knocked on the door to room 237, a call came over the radio that shots had been fired a block away at The Elbow Room. [It seems likely Copple saw the officers pull up to his truck and fled the Gilmer via the east exit, running across 4th St. North and into the alley behind the Trotter Center.  If  Copple took that route, as he emerged from under the Trotter skyway the first door to his right would have been The Elbow Room- CK]

The .40 caliber gun used in the shooting.

Sources that asked to remain anonymous told the Packet that Copple ran into the bar and was panicked, acting somewhat crazed. Inside the bar were Mark Caudill, James Bennet Mann (Bennet), Mike Ward and Al Comer. Caudill’s  fiancée Sonja Webb was rumored to have been at the bar near the time of the shooting- but was not seen nearby afterwards. Caudill had a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol allegedly in a holster on his hip, and when Copple began to “act up”, Caudill drew his weapon. Comer is believed to have exited as soon as Copple began to cause trouble, moments before the gun was pulled out. [Caudill was allegedly playfully “mocked” earlier that evening about carrying a pistol out in public like he was. Although the gun is believed to be registered to Caudill, I’ve been told by several people it is against the law to carry a pistol into a bar-CK]

Copple spent much of his time mocking the police on scene.

Copple then, according to sources, lunged for Caudill’s gun. The two men struggled for the piece for some 30 seconds, each pressing the other against the front corner of the bar nearest the front door. [The Elbow Room has two main sections: as you walk in the front door, you would find a long bar going north to south with a restroom in the rear and another room directly to your right, with a pool table and a small stage-Ed]
Bennet stepped in just as Copple managed to wrestle the pistol away from Caudill, and attempted to recover the gun. Copple wrestled the gun free and shot Bennet once in his chest, arm and finally his head. Caudill was shot twice in his torso and once in his head as well. Mann collapsed on top of Caudhill as they fell to the ground in a large pool of blood.
Mike Ward had been in the restroom area of the bar when the commotion started, and had made his way behind the bar and through a doorway to the pool room after the shootings. Copple then walked towards Ward and put the muzzle of the gun against Ward’s forehead and Ward pleaded for his life.   It is not known if Copple actually tried to shoot Ward too.  The six cartridges in the .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol had already been fired.  This type of pistol reportedly has a feature that does not allow the hammer to snap on an empty chamber after the last round is fired. [Six shots were apparently fired.  Police found six empty casings and five slugs.  It is thought that the sixth slug was still inside the body of one of the victims. CK]

Caudill in December, following an attempted mugging.

Former Packet editor Roger Larsen was dozing in a chair in his building on Lawyers Row when he heard an E-911 dispatcher say that a shooting had occurred at the Elbow Room.  The Elbow Room is only about 50 yards west of Larsen’s building, on the other side of 5th St. North.  Larsen was fully clothed and stepped outside to get his camera from his pickup, which was parked in front of his building.   When he approached his truck he saw a man dressed in black walking in the intersection of 2nd Ave. North & 5th St., near the Zachary’s Restaurant corner.  Larsen said that he suspected that the man was the shooter and became concerned with finding his pistol instead of his camera.  He thought he might have left the pistol in the pickup and quickly looked under some items on the seat but did not see it.  He was meanwhile watching the man in the intersection and now saw him begin to sprint toward him.  Larsen said he judged that he had time to walk back to his building and lock the door.  He pretended not to notice the man and walked quickly to his door and entered the building and locked the door behind him.  He went into the back room of the building and saw his pistol and heard a sound at his front door—the stranger apparently tried the knob and found the door locked.

Bennet is taken to BMH-GT. He succumbed to his injuries hours later.

Larsen said he was afraid to open the door because the stranger might be outside.  E-911 was reporting that the gunman was on 2nd Ave. North and Larsen called and said that the man had run toward his building.  The dispatcher told him that police had just taken the gunman into custody on 5th St. North.   Larsen hurried to his truck and got his camera and went around the corner onto 5th St. just as Officer Barry Goode was putting the gunman into a squad car (he missed the photo by seconds).
Goode had come onto the scene with Officers Kenny Brewer and Don Holifield.  Here’s how it developed:  Goode and Holifield were investigating the hit-and-run at 3rd Ave. North & 8th St.   They parked their squad cars near the intersection and followed a blood trail south on 8th St.  They were in the vicinity of Memorial Funeral Home when Brewer drove up.  At about the same time the shootings at the Elbow Room were announced by E-911.  Goode and Holifield were 100 yards from their vehicles so they jumped into the back seat of Brewer’s car and Brewer raced west on 2nd Ave. North toward the Elbow Room three blocks away (the block in front of the courthouse is one-way but they used that route).    Goode was riding on the right side in the back seat and kept the right door open with a foot (if the back doors of a squad car close they can only be opened from the outside).  When the three officers reached 3rd Ave. North & 5th St. they saw the suspect walking south in front of David Owen’s law office.  Brewer and Goode jumped out of the car with Holifield following Goode.   Brewer ordered the suspect to the ground and he got onto his knees and dropped his hands to his sides.  Goode told Brewer to “cover” him and approached the suspect from behind and handcuffed him without incident.  They found a .40 caliber pistol about 20 feet away in the street.

Austin Shepherd collects the handgun from the scene.

Brewer drove to the scene with his blue lights on but without a siren.  Larsen said that he thinks that when he went to his truck to get his camera the suspect probably saw Brewer’s blue lights three blocks to the east and decided to try to commandeer Larsen’s truck or follow Larsen into his building.
Goode placed Copple in the back of the squad car, and Copple immediately began to kick and struggle. The suspect managed to knock the rear driver’s side window off track, causing it to fall slightly. Officer’s then pulled Copple out of the cruiser far enough to put him in ankle shackles and removed his cowboy boots to prevent further damage. More than 25 members of Lowndes County law enforcement agencies converged on the area looking for clues and interviewing witnesses.
Copple was left in the rear of the car for nearly 30 minutes until CPD crime scene investigator Austin Shepherd arrived on scene to process evidence on his clothes. (Blood splatter) During his extended stay in the rear of the cruiser, Copple made sure to let the assembled group of law enforcement professionals his feelings towards them. Copple had the following to say:


“What do you expect me to do when a mutherf#*#er pulls a gun on me?”
“You cops want some rights, how ‘bout my right to kick your ass?”
“Your prerogative is bullsh#*t, my prerogative is for you to let me loose!”
“Line up, just line up, I’ll beat all you f#**ots to the ground, I’m an animal!”
Shepard processed the Walther .40 Caliber pistol and Copple was finally transported to Lowndes County Adult Detention Center. Upon arrival to LCADC, Copple continued to resist and threaten officers, telling jailors “uncuff me and I’ll f*#*ing end you. I’m a go#*$mn man. Nobody in here can handle me!!”
Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant and CSI Shepherd brought the body of Mark Caudill out around 3:45 am. Columbus Police investigators continued to process the crime scene until nearly 5:00 am Wednesday morning. James Bennet Mann was pronounced dead Wednesday morning around 10:30am.


Daniel Copple was in LCADC as of Thursday morning, but has not been formally charged. He will face a long list of possible charges, ranging from disorderly conduct and felony hit and run to capital murder charges. Sources close to the investigation suspect Copple was under the influence of narcotics, but would not speculate as to a specific drug as of yet. The Elbow Room, a downtown fixture for generations did not open Wednesday, some downtown residents expressed hope that this would not cause the bar to shut down completely.
[Some people who saw Copple in the news Wednesday thought the badge on his shirt may be some law enforcement insignia.  The logo was in fact that of Salty Dog Tavern. – RL]


  1. He’s a idiot. Too bad he dropped the gun, it would have given the cops something to play target practice with. I could not believe him laughing at the cops or was he laughing WITH them?

    • Crash

      Where you there or did you see a picture
      Every thing can be easily misinturpited you don’t know how he was treated while incustudy they only lit you know what you need no more

  2. I lost what little respect I had for both The Packet and The Dispatch with this turn of events. The both of of you have lost my business. The lack of respect for the families of the people involved in this horrible & gruesome crime was displayed by the photos in both of your news papers. I would hate to think my wife, mother, or children would have to relive that through your tackiness if that had been myself on that gurney. You have loss my business because of your Tabloid type disrespectfulness to all parties involved.

    May God lay a burden on your hearts to show a lot more class and respect in your future ventures.

  3. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Through the eyes of the free press we’ve see the ugly underbelly of the boozing nightlife in the Friendly City. That is a free press’ mandate to the people:To tell the truth!

    And , thanks to The Packet , we have an explanation –a former victim of a mugging back in December-as to why one of the victims was openly armed to protect himself. IMHO, that exonerates him of having provoked his killer. And it denies his killer credibility, if his lawyers attempt to mount a self-defense argument.

    Maybe an investigation will be conducted into the source of the killer’s obviously cocaine/meth-induced murderous rampage.

    • russell copple

      all you pep are as about as stupid as they come two men have lost there lives to this event cuz your bar owner and his staff failed to have the man leave the bar that had the gun.. this is my brother and is a good man drinking does all kinds of things to a person so if you want to pull a gun on a man and you are not the law the man will protect himself as he did and as far as your stupid ass coments keep them to your self as somday one of the kids left behind may read your stupidity

      • Adam and Kayla Copple

        I have to agree with my uncle My Uncle dan was only protecting him self as we all would have faught for our lifes if some one pulled a gun on you. I not saying what happened was right but people are stupid when they drink and that is why that law was put in affect not to carry a fire arm into a bar cuz it could have been my uncle being killed it could have been any one!

        • Renee serrato

          The man carrying the gun was protecting himself from men Lilke ur uncle dummy!! Too bad he drew down late or didn’t have the gumption to pull the trigger

      • crash

        Danny is my cuzen I new him most of my life and I know him well enough to say it was only a act out of self defense he was in fear of his own life any body cought up in the moment don’t have enough time to think about concequiences only to react to situation when there is a life threat rather it’s him or me any body in there rite mind would have done the same if they were sceard come on it was a 40 cal that belonged to the outer guy and why was he at the BAR with a gun he’s not even law inforcement drunks have no business with a gun at a bar ! Who ever gave him the permit should be sewed “love you rus??”

      • Crash

        Danny’s my cozen I’ve known him most of my life he is a fully hatred person russ and I use to be at eachouthers heels 247 and Danny brought us to being the best of friends he has a habit of bringing the best out in you and I know this to be true that when your cought up in the moment you will do what ever it takes to survive it’s an in stink we all posses it’s just knowing how to use common since with it every body is blessed with it but choose not to use it and some times there is not enough time to eveluate a situation but it is always there and i know danny did it out of self diffence what would you have done if someone pointed a 40 cal at you ?
        People do some pretty dum things while under the influence the question is how fare are they willing to go
        What would have happened if Danny was a cop he is still defending his life the only thing that changes is he wouldn’t be locked up

      • Renee serrato

        No dumba** the man reached for a Hun that wasn’t his! Drunk or sober he deserved what he got!!! As a friend of his son who killed himself, had he controlled himself that night maybe Nathan would still be here!

  4. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Is Roger on the ground near the Serverstal plant to seek out comments from Copple’s fellow employees?. Is the name “Copple” an anglicized spelling of Kopple? He doesn’t “look” Germanic.

  5. KJ

    “the ugly underbelly of the boozing nightlife in the Friendly City”? Really? Quit being a douche.

  6. Johnny Phillip Morris

    A great lesson that can be learned from this tragedy is that the State’s CCW statute needs revisions to permit open carry weapons in bars, where they now are prohibited by the existing law.

    IMHO, had the other bar patrons been armed, the two executions by Copple would never have happened.

    Not to make comedic light of the events at the bar, but my thoughts went back to the Archie Bunker TV skit back in the 70s which addressed gun control as it related to the aircraft hijackings of that time. Of course the scripwriter Norman Lear and actors O’Connor, Jean Stapleton and Rob Reiner were using Hollywood satire to ridicule gun ownership by ordinary citizens. Gun ownership was permissible only for the Uzi-carrying body guards of the likes of Ted kennedy and the Hollywood jet setters.

    Here are Archie Bunker’s prophetic words on gun control from the 1970s:


    • The bar rule is designed to keep from having whole rooms filled with drunk armed idiots. Can you imagine everyone shooting randomly? The loss of life would have probably been greater. Unfortunately this is a sad situation that could have been avoided had there been no guns in that bar.

  7. Johnny Phillip Morris

    I would like to make one suggestion:That CCW permits in bars be restricted to the Taurus-type “The Judge” or The Public Defender” weapons that are chambered for .410 shotgun/45 cal. Colt rounds, but require the .45 cal. rounds be surrendered upon entering the bar.

  8. Johnny Phillip Morris

    It has “grown” from its agrarian roots into the shinning star of the New South MIC.

  9. I would like to express my sympathy to the families involved. I knew Mark pretty well, we went to college in Mayhew together, and I have hung out with him and some mutual friends on several occasions. He was fun to be around, and will be missed. As far as the story goes, it is nice to have the actual story of what happened but I think the packet could have shown a little respect for the families involved. You can easily report the facts while showing soem sympathy for the families that will forever haved their lives changed by this horrible incident. I personally wish Mark’s family the best in this time.

  10. Johnny Phillip Morris

    The bar rule is designed to keep from having whole rooms filled with drunk armed idiots.

    From what I’ve gleaned through the press reports , one of the victims had already been assaulted in a mugging back in December. Apparently he felt threatened in downtown Columbus. Mississippi law prohibits “concealed” weapons in bars;however, self preservation always trumps Mississippi “law.”

    We won’t know all the facts until Roger “does his stuff.”

  11. Outsider

    First let me say that I will keep everyone involved in this tragedy in my prayers and I am truly sorry for their losses! With that being said, I wanted to address the fact that people are upset over the papers publishing the hard core truth with the pictures they printed. The family will end up seeing these photos and many more in court. I hope by the paper posting these pictures it will make someone else think twice about going out to the bar drinking and caring a weapon. These pictures show the truth on the senselessness of these murders. I was actually shocked to see them but I also feel like the paper did their job! We want them to tell us what is happening but at the same time get mad when they tell the hard core truth. NO family wants to see their family in this light but at the same time they will end up seeing these anyway. Now they can kind of prepare themself for the things they may see in court. I am sure whats in court will be more gruesome than these photos. I hope that one day justice is served and the families can try to put the gruesomeness behind them and come to terms with this tragedy enough to remember these men the way they truly lived their lives. Remember them for WHO they were NOT what controversary has been surrounded by their deaths! I feel such sadness for these families! All the families, even the shooters family. ALL of them will be in my prayers daily!

  12. He was carrying before the mugging. He lived here long enough that nothing good goes on in the Gilmer or the Elbow room. If it worries someone that much to be in an area that they feel like they need to be armed, the Darwin Gene should kick in and tell them not to be there.

    • Anonymous

      Mark has carried this gun for years. In fact has pulled this gun on women. It made him feel empowered. His ex-wife feared for her life.

  13. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Showing a weapon is a deterrent to the possible threat of physical violence:It’s saying, don’t mess with me! It’s the poorman’s version of the cold war defense strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction(MAD). I don’t think that most barhoping patrons go to these places unarmed. It’s that you just don’t see their knife or the concealed two-shot derringer secreted in the hip pocket.

    Assuming that Mark had drawn his weapon out of fear of being attacked by this madman, I just cannnot imagine Copple attacking a man with a drawn weapon. Now that’s stupid!

    And administrating the coup de gras to his two victims is not self defense.

    • Jeanne Polehonki

      I know Dan Copple very well and I feel horrible for ALL parties involved. And “assuming” is all you people are doing as you are making your ignorant comments without knowing anything about Dan. I happen to KNOW not assume that he would without fear save your life if it was being threatened without regard for his own. And some guy waving a loaded gun around in a bar ( where everyone is likely an alcoholic to begin with) creates a life endangering situation for everyone. Some people would sit back and do nothing and some people WILL!!! It was probably “STUPID” for those men on the hijacked plane to try to take down the terrorists themselves but they were not concerned with “STUPID” but with “SURVIVAL”.

      • KJ

        You’re making the same sorts of assumptions you’re complaining about. And ignoring non-assumptions about Copple’s actions that night.

    • anonymous

      Because Mark was addicted to prescription pills. He has numerous domestic violence reports and has always had a history of abusing women. Out of respect for his daughter and ex-wife, stop defending his stupidity. Mark didn’t even have a DL. I don’t know how he would even have a permit to carry a gun not to mention drive to the bar legally!!!!

  14. Johnny Phillip Morris

    …Copple then walked towards Ward and put the muzzle of the gun against Ward’s forehead and Ward pleaded for his life….

    Copple could have “survived” by just putting his hands up in the air and backed out of that bar if he felt threatened;instead, he chose to attack and kill!. That’s stupid!

    …Copple continued to resist and threaten officers, telling jailors “uncuff me and I’ll f*#*ing end you. I’m a go#*$mn man. Nobody in here can handle me!!”…

  15. Rusty Jernell

    I too know Danny, Not as a crazy mad man as painted by some of these posts but as a kind person who after hurricane Katrina flew home from a very well paid outage overseas to help his friends and neighbors giving many money labor and a shoulder. He would do anything for anybody. I too am deeply saddened by these events as his brother said it is a situation that did not have to happen. I am not going to defend any of Dans actions leading up to the events that took place in the bar. He should not have been driving in the condition he was in. As for his actions in the bar self preservation is natural and that SEEMS to be exactly what it was. He was not in any shape to judge who was friend or foe but did nothing to anyone that in his mind wasn’t a threat to him, thed gentleman that he held he gun to made it clear he wasn’t a threat and therefore did not get shot. This is in NO WAY an attack on the two that did or an attack on them I do not know them in any way and they may have been reacting in what they thought was the best in their situation but the owner who has apparently been in this business for some time should know how to recognize that a gun and drugs and drinking can only lead to one thing.

  16. jcox

    Mark was a thug…this was a god send to his ex-wife & her family! He has been threatning her for nearly 3 years that he was going to kill her. I know his ex wife really well & they even had to put cameras outsider there house to feel safe & had the local police watching her house. She had 2 children in the house 1 being Mark’s own daughter. Mark has been arrested numerous times over the past 6-10 years. INFACT he was wanted in Mississippi & Tennesse. Justice has been served! God has a way of working magic. Thank you.

    Very true story he put a gun to his ex-wifes head a few years ago & threatened if she ever left he would kill her, he even said numerous times that he would plant drugs at her house if she ever told anyone about this. The oldest child of his ex-wifes witnessed at a young age of him beating his ex-wife….A book could be written on this evil person. Thank you Dan Copple

  17. rusty jernell

    I too know Danny, not as a crazed madman as painted here but as a kind hearted person. A man who after hurricane katrina flew home from a very well paid work outage overseas to help his friends and neighbors in anyway he could. A man who always helped others when he could. I am in NO way defending his actions leading up to the events that took place in the bar. He should have never been behind the wheel of a vehicle in his condition. As far as the actions in the bar it SEEMS that he did exactly what any other man in his position and condition would have done. I am in no way saying anyone deserved what happened and am sure that the other individuals were doing the same in their condition. The owner who seems to have been in this business for some time should have NEVER allowed this to go this far, IF the guy was waving around the gun and carrying it openly he should’ve never been in the place. I do not know any of the other people and am only drawing from what i have read on here. Dan did not harm anyone who he didn’t see as a threat to him. YES he threatened the other patron but in the heat of things and condition did not harm him when he stood down. Anyone can say what SHOULD have happened but unless you are in the situation well you know what they say about hindsight. Again my thoughts and prayers go out to ALL the families involved it is a very sad situation.

  18. Johnny Phillip Morris

    As far as the actions in the bar it SEEMS that he did exactly what any other man in his position and condition would have done. I am in no way saying anyone deserved what happened and am sure that the other individuals were doing the same in their condition.

    I disagree. Mr. Copple had a chance to “take flight,” but he chose to “fight.” That’s NOT self defense! He employed military-style , confrontational “enhanced enforcement” against Mr. Caudhill , when he could have easily just cursed and walked away;instead, he chose to disarm his victim. That’s NOT self defense! And after his victims were disarmed and posed no threat to him, he chose to “double tap” both victims with one shot to the heart and one shot to the head. That’s NOT self defense!That’s murder most foul! “Double tap” is employed by Eric Prince’s Blackwater(xe) mercenaries and US troops in battle zones throughout the Middle East.
    So, that leads to “supicious speculation” that Mr. Copple may have been overseas employed in a capacity as a high-salaried “defense(sic) contractor.” And the fact that he was in New Orleans after Katrina , suggests that he may have been involved in operations there that were less than “humanitarian.” Blackwater’s gun-toting mercenary presence in New Orleans is well documented. MSU’s Richard “Goldbug” Adkerson employed Blackwater mercenaries to provide security for his properties.
    Maybe his kith and kin can give us more details on why this “good” man went bad?

    • rusty jernell

      I at no time claimed self defense. As far as the mercenarie part well now that i am done laughing, He was in GULFPORT not new orleans as was myself, I am not questioning or disputing this countries b.s. cover ups in new orleans. He was working for a well known industry construction company, the very one that is still in operations in most states. I applaude your imagination as you can tell by the photo’s of Dan he is in deed in top physical shape as any navy seal type soldier would be. LOL. I must still add that no matter the claims to the conduct of the two victims before these people still had families and loved ones that i’m sure does not see it as a godsend and I am sure Dan does not feel that way as well. Also at no time did i say he was on a defense contract, the country was Africa. Not the middle east.

      • rusty jernell

        Bennet stepped in just as Copple managed to wrestle the pistol away from Caudill, and attempted to recover the gun. Copple wrestled the gun free and shot Bennet once in his chest, arm and finally his head. Caudill was shot twice in his torso and once in his head as well. Mann collapsed on top of Caudhill as they fell to the ground in a large pool of blood.
        Does this sound like double tap or trained killer? Bennet and Caudhill had the same fight or flight choice and chose to attack, chose to attepmpt as it is well documented here to threaten an unarmed person with his gun one more time.You are attempting to paint a long drawn out fire fight where in fact choices to fight or flight were made in mere seconds by 3 individuals who were all under influence of alcohol. As for the “good man gone bad” well first i still claim he is a good man who made some really poor choices and mistakes as I am positive we all have in our lives.

    • KansasCowgirl

      You dont even have a clue dude! lol You dont know the Copple’s very well to be running ur mouth, ive been wit Dan’s older brother for 4 yrs and i know all the Copple brothers and from wat ive experienced is that these men are like lions……they fight for their lifes and take s*** from no one! Very defensive people that defend for themselves and their own, he has every right to do wat he did if they where messin wit him. Like everyone says “he should have backed down and or away”? Same goes for all three men that got up on him! If he was goin crazy then they should have done the same and backed the f*** up. All i have to say!

    • jeanne polehonki

      “I just cannnot imagine Copple attacking a man with a drawn weapon. Now that’s stupid!”
      why can’t you imagine it ? Bennett Mann jumped into a scuffle of 2 men already struggling for a gun.

      Mr. Copple had a chance to “take flight,” but he chose to “fight.” That’s NOT self defense! He employed military-style , confrontational “enhanced enforcement” against Mr. Caudhill , when he could have easily just cursed and walked away;instead, he chose to disarm his victim. That’s NOT self defense! And after his victims were disarmed and posed no threat to him, he chose to “double tap” both victims with one shot to the heart and one shot to the head. That’s NOT self defense!That’s murder most foul! ….. Morris, you do tons of harm spouting out anything that pops into your head. just making stuff up as you go. And people read your crap and probably believe it. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ACTUALLY OCCURRED, HAVE NO PROOF, BUT HERE YOU ARE SPEWING THE MOST EXTREME AND TOTALLY ASININE SCENARIOS….MERCENARIES??? SERIOUSLY? A loaded gun was pulled on him….telling him like it would tell 99% of us that theres a strong possibility the person with the gun is going to shoot me!!!!!!! Someone pulls a gun on you Morris and you are going to curse and walk away….?? WELL THAT DOESNT SURPRISE ME. it doesnt take any balls at all to sit behind your computer spewing out delusional assumptions about someone you know nothing about that lots of people will read and form opinions from. You are a real bright one.

  19. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Does this sound like double tap or trained killer? Bennet and Caudhill had the same fight or flight choice and chose to attack, chose to attepmpt as it is well documented here to threaten an unarmed person with his gun one more time.

    Why did Copple flee the Gilmer and choose to enter the bar after the hit and run incident? We seem to have forgotten Copple’s other victim that lived to tell his story. There were accusations that Copple deliberately ran his victim down after the Holiday Inn bar affair.

    And, until the witness testimony of the survivors is made public, there will be always be this “suspicious speculation.” We’ll not know what “erratic behavior” at the bar compelled Caudhill to feel that Copple posed a threat to his well being and required a defensive act of drawing his weapon from his holster. He never fired that weapon at Copple! We don’t know from the witnesses if he even pointed the weapon at Copple. We don’t even know if a round was even in the chamber when Copple attacked Caudhill. Did Copple chamber a round before he shot his first victim? As for the double tap speculation, it’s obvious that Copple’s intent was a clean kill for both victims. The coup de gras double tap tends to have that desired effect.
    I don’t think even a living Jonnie Cochran/Bob Shapiro/F. Lee Bailey/ Bob Kardashian dream team will be able a pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat for Mr. Copple. I’ve said enough and I think that he will get a fair trial in Mississippi. And if convicted, I hope that there will be NO death penalty imposed. Never believed in that Leviticus stuff, anyway.

  20. Pingback: Lucerne Valley Man charged in Mississippi Double Homicide | Cactus Thorns

  21. jcox

    Mark was asking for trouble…Like the old saying goes. “If you’re going to carry a gun you best be prepared to use it. In Mark’s case he wasn’t…gets what he deserves.

  22. Johnny Phillip Morris

    In Mark’s case he wasn’t…gets what he deserves.~jcox

    And in Bennet Mann’s case?

    God forbid that you ever sit in the juror’s box!


      And in Bennet Mann’s case?

      what is your answer to that question?

      deborah richards, Bennett’s older sister here.

  23. Johnny Phillip Morris

    If you’re going to carry a gun you best be prepared to use it. In Mark’s case he wasn’t…gets what he deserves.~jcox

    You seem to know what transpired between Caudhill and his killer? So, at what part of Copple’s “erratic” behavior do you think that Caudhill would have been justified– in a legal self defense sense– in firing his weapon at his unarmed assailant? Only at the moment his killer touched him? It’s a hard call and, IMHO, NOT firing on an unarmed man is plus for Caudhill, albeit it did cost him his life. But you say he “got what he deserves”…one bullet to the heart and one to the brain?

    Stop blaming the victims!

  24. Johnny Phillip Morris

    I get the sinking feeling that Mr. Copple may just get away with murder, if Mississippi’s Castle Doctrine is carried to the extreme. It’s got to be the <b.Mother Of All Self Defense Cases!!
    It is true, and a strike against Mr. Caudhill, that he was unlawfully in possession of a firearm in a bar. However, in order for the Castle Doctrine to apply, the prosecution must prove that Copple was the aggressor and that Caudhill posed no immenent threat to him(Copple). Since there are only two living witnesses to the events that lead to the killings–the killer and a lone bar patron–the testimony of the bar patron will decide whether Copple walks. If Copple is found not guilty, there can be no civil lawsuits filed against him.

    There was a similar case posted the The Columbus Packet where a defendant was found not guilty–citing the Castle Doctrine– after he shot an assailant that attempted to enter his automobile.

    I hope that TruTV is following this case.


  25. Johnny Phillip Morris

    From Guthrie’s Link:

    ….(4) A person who is not the initial aggressor and is not engaged in unlawful activity shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force under subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section if the person is in a place where the person has a right to be, and no finder of fact shall be permitted to consider the person’s failure to retreat as evidence that the person’s use of force was unnecessary, excessive or unreasonable.

    (5) (a) The presumptions contained in subsection (3) of this section shall apply in civil cases in which self-defense or defense of another is claimed as a defense.

    (b) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant acted in accordance with subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section. A defendant who has previously been adjudicated “not guilty” of any crime by reason of subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section shall be immune from any civil action for damages arising from same conduct.

    If you read this carefully you will see that Mississippi takes the Castle Doctrine to the extreme, not only allowing you to defend your home (porches especially), but also your car, your place of employment, or practically anywhere you have a legal right to be. Also, unlike some states, you do not have to retreat before you take action to defend yourself. Last, but not least, the law added civil immunity (you can’t be sued) if you are forced to defend yourself in accordance with this law.

    A couple of quick points about this law:

    1.It is limited to the defense of people, not property.
    2.It does not affect gun ownership rights in any way (i.e., if you cannot possess a gun for some reason, then this does not confer on you the right to have one).

  26. Johnny Phillip Morris

    ….(4) A person who is not the initial aggressor and is not engaged in unlawful activity shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force under subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section if the person is in a place where the person has a right to be, and no finder of fact shall be permitted to consider the person’s failure to retreat as evidence that the person’s use of force was unnecessary, excessive or unreasonable….

    Maybe jcox is right!

    If Mr. Caudhill was not the initial aggressor, and assuming that the carrying of the firearm in the bar does not constitute the illegal activity , would Caudhill have been justified in shooting Mr. Copple because of his erratic behavior? The operative caveat here being “illegal activity”

    Will it be Judge Kitchens that gets his 15 minutes of fame when TruTV returns?

  27. Johnny Phillip Morris

    I’m wondering if Mr. Copple will defend his actions that dreadful night by claiming that he got too close to the “bag house” during those cocaine evidence burn- offs that are conducted at Serverstal? His defenders claim that he did not use drugs.

    Maybe the Packet could send Roger over to Serverstal for a Spotlight On Industry story showing how court- confiscated cocaine is destroyed and sent down to the York disposal site. Lots of confiscated guns end up in the burn pit , too

  28. jcox

    I knew what a piece of crap Mark was…believe me he was asking for it. I wasn’t there or even close nor spoken to Mark in several years! Just knew the threats he made against others families are very accurate. He got what he deserves!

    I’m not saying I’m perfect but I don’t hit women in front of small children nor pull guns on people that are scared for there lives…like he did. That’s a fact. Go ask 10 people in Columbus what they thought of Mark…you will find your answer pretty quickly (it was bound to happen soon)

    • anonymous

      jcox is correct. Caudill was a POS. I am just glad his ex-wife and child don’t have to worry about their safety any longer. Thank YOU!

  29. jcox

    Caudill in December, following an attempted mugging. (Pic from above)

    Mark beat his girlfriend, but he was an expert at making others look to be the blame. The night he got mugged it was his fault in the beggining.

  30. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Sadly, Copple may walk.

    Just a few days ago, a Purvis, Mississippi gunman was acquitted of murder by a Lamar County jury. The first trial ended in a deadlocked jury and a mistrial declared by Judge Mingo.

    The gunman administered the coup de gras to the brain (.38 cal.)as his victim lay face down in the yard. Admittedly there was reasonable doubt that favored acquittal, as the prosecution could not explain the presence of a .25 cal. automatic pistol at the scene with four spent cartridges lying on the ground near the crime scene. The victim’s wife claimed that she brought the gun to the scene after her husband was shot and that the gun “went off” after she dropped it.[ But not four times.]

    This incident, and the point blank bullets to the chest and brain of a fleeing, unarmed petty beer thief in Jackon by the acquitted Hindu gunman, should show cause for the legislature to take a look back at the legal but excessive lethal force that it has unleashed and sanctioned under Mississippi’s new Castle Law. Maybe we should rename it the Coup De Gras Law.


  31. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Sorry, that was Judge Mozingo presiding at the murder trial in Purvis . A Freudian slip, I suspect. Thinking of the persecuted, prosecuted and crucified Julian Mingo.


    I am Bennett’s older sister, Deborah. My brother was not even involved in this. He was trying to help the other man who was shot. My brother, BENNETT, was kind, and always wanting to help people, make everyone smile.

    James Bennett Mann, II is my little brother. He was taken from our family by an animal by the name of Daniel Paul Copple. Bennett always tried to help anyone who needed it. He always saw the positive side of everything and everyone. I pray Coppel is given the death sentence. I do believe in the death penalty. I am praying for Coppel to die. The problem is to put him to sleep like a dog is too humane. No one would be able to publish what I would like to see done to him.

    I will be around to see justice prevail, but my precious Mother, Bennett’s Mother, may not be. She is 74 and this has just about killed her physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    All my love to anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one at the hands of a vicious cold blooded killer like Copple.

    TO MY BROTHER (HIS SPIRIT IS EVERYWHERE), Bennett, I keep you close in my heart and mind. I will see you again. I love you my little brother

    Your Big Sister Deborah Richards

    • KansasCowgirl

      Daniel is not a murder nor a killer! This is the first time this has ever happened to him where he had to defend himself. No one knows wat went down and i just hate hearin this crap about people should die just becuase they think someone killed ur love one on purpose. Acohol does stupid sh*t to people and thats why u need common sense that if ur goin out to drink u are in no means to be operating a handgun nor a car! These other people started crap with Daniel way b4 he ended up at the Elbow Room and from wait ive been readin they were trouble makers and had verious crimial backgrounds as well. So watever happened was not all Daniel’s fault and im sorry that ur brother was at the wrong place at the wrong time, but u cant be caught in the cross fire and not get hit.


        TO COWGIRL: so i guess “Daniel” was just having fun when he tried to run down and kill a homeless guy on his bike just moments before walking into the Elbow Room? My brother, Bennett, has no criminal record. He was just hanging out with his friends at the Elbow Room as he has done for years. The jury with decide the fate of Coppel . Coppel shot my brother in the head after Bennett was on the ground on his back from a gunshot to the chest. Bennett was no threat to Daniel Coppel. Coppel was mean and he slaughtered my brother.


        • katrinagonzalez(hou.tx)

          Deborah, don’t be ignorant… Where is this homeless guy, or US that another of their lies to make Daniel look like a monster…. He shouldn’t have had a gun, he wouldn’t have gotten killed.

    • katrinagonzalez(hou.tx)

      Maybe, the fact that you wish for someone’s death is Gods justification for your brothers… Maybe, you should be a little more selfless. Your words are mean, heartless, and coldblooded… Daniel is not. Maybe that is why Daniel lives, his children and family live and thrive! I am sorry for your brother and mother, I FEEL sorry for you, you sound pathetic!

  33. Patsy Nowicki

    I wished this was a nitemare that would just go away.Bennett Mann was my son untill this SOB killed him. I hope he burns in HELL. Bennett was a good person, kind. and always ready to help.I really don’t know what I will do without him. May the Lord shine down on me and help me get this anger out of my hart. Thanks to all that wrote in with prayers it was really hard to see the front page of the packet.I will see that image the rest of my life. I have two more childen Helene Jordan.and Deborah Richards. They are very good to me, but the nights I cry myself to sleep. I am crying for Bennett.

  34. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Update on Mississippi’s “Castle Doctrine” execution in Lumberton, Mississippi.

    In spite of the prosecution’s convincing evidence that the victim was unarmed and presented NO threat to the shooter, Lamar County jurors in February found the defendant “not guilty”–citing Mississippi’s Castle Doctrine– of the execution-style slaying of an unarmed man in a domestic squabble. The victim DID go to the shooter’s front yard to confront the defendant, but the victim WAS was UNARMED and the shooter shot the victim four times as he (the victim) lay facedown on the ground.

    But justice was done through the Pennsylvania Courts where the shooter had served part of a twenty-year sentence for murder and armed robbery in that State before being paroled, and in June Mississippi reurned him there to serve the remainder of his twenty-year murder/armed robbery sentence.

    The felonious past of the killer was known to the Lumberton jurors although that criminal history was not revealed to jurors in court.




  36. nathan lanham

    Hey what bout the man Dan Copple’s family? This is a clear case of self defense. Dan is a great man, I’ve never met a man with the heart the size of his. I’m not just saying that cause he’s my father.

    • Erica Gonzales Ubias

      Okay now my turn!!!! I do not know this man personally but i have to say they make him out to be a heartless killer. When in deed it was self defense, I can not believe half of the comments i read… READ the damn thing again ppl the gun was pulled on Dan first so of course anybody would fight for there life im sure if a gun was pulled on any of you, bet anything you wouldnt turn around and run just to get shot in your back!!! Really i do feel for all the family’s but really and a close friend of Nathan Lanham i love that boy and for Gods sake ppl give some sympathy to DAN’S kids. I do in fact believe that the baris to blame for most of the problem who in the hell would let a man carry a gun into a bar where drunk idiot’s seem to have nothing more to do but cause fights!!!! F*** what you heard know the truth!!! The news over exaggerates on all stories but out!!!! And also the anonymous person seem to know the Mark dude to well and look what he had to say about him he’s a women beater!!! And as a woman any man who hits on any female deserves what ever is to come his way!!! There is a witness out there who was in the bar who knows the truth and knows dan wasnt at fault for nothing but self defense, Come clean ppl dont let a good man get thrown away for nothing!!! Nathan i love you and your in my thoughts and prayers everyday!!! And i hope to God one day the truth will set him free! Keep your head up buddy<3

  37. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    All this would’ve never happened if the Elbow Room was a “pot den” instead of a licensed establishment to dispense state-sanctioned ethyl alcohol.

  38. katrinagonzalez(hou.tx)

    Stupid stupid people… Especially, the paper who published this garbage. This man is my life-long friends father! It is horrible that so many people are suffering as a result of these events. Why make more people suffer with your ignorant comments. Regardless of what was said, no one is justified in your horrible comments about Daniel because none of you were there to know what really happened. Even the lies in the paper should be ignored, I can SAY that the president attacked me, that doesn’t make it true. Ignorant people get educated!

  39. katrinagonzalez(hou.tx)

    Johnny Phillip Morris, your continuous ignorant speculation is not appreciated. Stop trying to seem so smart, it only lets us know how ignorant you really are. And why so into this particular story… A**hole. We don’t want to hear what you hurried and looked up so you would have something to write down. Do you even know anyone involved or affected??? Not looking for an answer from you. No one likes A**holes so go away.

  40. JohnnyPhillipMorris


    Can you explain Copple’s military-style “double-tapping” his two victims in Columbus. Has he ever been emplyed as a mercenary in Africa?

    One of his friends posted here that he had “worked” in Africa.

    • jeanne polehonki

      I seriously cannot believe the corruption that has taken place in this case. Not one statement was ever taken from Dan. His so called public defender is a total and complete liar and had no intention of ever trying to represent Dan. All of his rights were violated and nothing was done about it. I read 3 signed statements from Mike Ward the so called “deciding factor” and his story changed all 3 times. His first one said he heard shots, hit the floor and never left the back room. Also that he never saw the man run out. Later he came up with a completely different story and then another one. Everything about this case is corrupt. Dan was convicted because he didn’t have the money to hire a private lawyer, one that would actually do their job. Well its not over yet. By any means

  41. Patricia Troxell

    Unless any of you were there on the scene, then you have NO IDEA what transpired and who did what. Let the forensics speak for the crime committed and then let the system work. What a person was or was not in his life should not be the objective here. Justice should be for everyone involved! God be with all involved in this tragedy! Oh yes, some of you please use your spell check so you do not sound so un-educated when you post information for other people to read.

  42. deborah

    This post comes at long last. Obviously,Daniel Paul Copple was found guilty by a jury of his peers in December, 2011. I was there. In my earlier post I proclaimed I would be there when he was convicted of murdering my brother, Bennett. I was there. Justice was served as I believed it would be. May God have mercy!

    • jeanne polehonki

      Look at Forrest Allgoods record of getting people convicted even sent to death row that are then set free. Little towns full of corruption. Public defenders that run for DA? Or that are close friends with the fiance of one of the deceased? Public defenders that get arrested? And lie? Please, keep kidding yourselves.

    • jeanne polehonki

      well if “you were there” then “obviously” you saw a corrupt public defender not object once to anything, not present any witnesses or evidence in Dan’s defense, conduct ANY type of investigation, question anyone or DO ANYTHING that he is required by law for his client. Oh but he certainly led me over phone to believe he was fully certain it was self defense and that he would win the case. DAN’S STATEMENT WAS NEVER EVEN TAKEN…BY EITHER SIDE!! His lawyer did not come to see him until days before the trial started…and only once. HE DID NOTHING for Dan and you all know it. How about that complete CONFLICT OF INTEREST, Susan Robinson, you being such good facebook buddies with the attorney defending the man that shot and killed your fiance. You people had him hung from the get go. ohhhhh JCOX and GBaldwin, if you all knew what a piece of crap Mark was, then why didn’t you speak up!!!!
      Pathetic. God knows the truth, and ultimately thats who you’ll have to answer to. Thats why Dan is not sitting there suffering like you all had hoped. Keep your eyes open.

  43. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    No arguing with your claim that Lowndes county is the most corrupt county in the State of Mississippi…and ,on a per capita basis, worse ever than Hinds County(Jackson).

    I wonder if Mr. Copple has shared with you his source of Cocaine drugs that caused his violent rage? A former sheriff office candidate(he lost the election) claims that the drugs are entering Lowndes county via the Tenn-Tom waterway where there is zero interdiction by law enforcement. Untouchable drug kingpins walk the streets freely, while Algood goes after the “mules,” dumping them in privately-run-prisons that are already at full capacity with non-violent offenders. I can remember a time that a known drug kingpin with political connections openly dispensed “pot” in penny matchboxes stored beneath the cash register. Sheriff Harper was in office at the time and “crack” had not yet made the scene.

    Check out the video. Citizen Shane Ballard “died by Hibachi” soon after his run for sheriff of Lowndes county. The producer of Citizen Shane was “Silkwooded” shortly after the release of the film.


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