Introducing Somebody Episode 1: Courtney
Hey intercepted listeners. It's Jeremy Scale. We are giving our producers a break this week and we're going to be back with a new episode of intercepted next week but I did want to let our listeners. Know about an important new podcast that the intercept is producing in partnership with the Chicago. Based Journalism nonprofit the invisible institute along with topics studios and IHEART radio. It's also done in association with tender foot. Tv It's called somebody and it's a seven part series that documents show Pearl Wells' quest to find out what happened to her son Courtney Copeland a twenty two year old man who wound up dead with a bullet in his back outside of a Chicago police station. Back IN TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN. Somebody explores the racial disparities. And turbulent relationship between law enforcement and citizens in one of America's largest cities weekly episodes are now available wherever you get your podcast. But here for intercepted. Listeners is the first episode of somebody. What you're about to hear in the following episode does not implicate the Chicago police in the murder of Courtney Copeland when my son Courtney was twenty one years old. He got a BMW convertible. He loved that car like it was his girlfriend. He would talk to like a Muni. Hello baby clothes. The mustache now more than the first time bay rolled into our driveway. It was late at night of quite near has dropped vm. According to hit the music blasting all the way this is like a block party you know in the middle of my driveway. He had the top down. It wasn't even that hot outside. But of course he hit the top down as the beautiful moment and that was probably one of the most happiest. Mama's I've seen Ten or twenty her granted Federal Doma just said he was shot. Ems Well into the twentieth that start ambulance right away but not even one year later. My son wound up with a bullet in his back outside of Chicago. Police Station and there are still so many unanswered questions about what led to the death of twenty two year. Old Courtney Copeland family members say Copeland was on his way to a friend's house when he was shot through his car window a bullet. It has banned manage to flag down a police car in front of the Twenty Fifth District station and was rushed to a hospital. The wound was fatal. There's what you hear on. The News. That coordinate got shot. Drove himself to a police station where off forces did everything they could to help him. His mother's heart tonight left in pieces. And then there's the truth. I believe that not enough has been done to solve courtney. Murder what relate. What would you like done that I have? I personally would have went back and reinterviewed everybody to make sure the police. My name is chapelle wells. I'm Courtney Copeland's mom and this is somebody I D so Chicago. Police have one of the lowest murder solve rates in the country. And it's even lower if you're black so when it came time to find out who killed my son. I knew I'd have to figure it out on my own. I'm GonNa take you with me step by step in my investigation but first let me tell you about my son. You need to know who he was in life because we're going to spend a lot of time talking about his death. Corny was more a day after my twenty first birthday on New Year's Eve nineteen ninety-three and they still remember him sleeping on my shift. Sometimes that's my mom renee and his favorite thing was warm milk and he talked about that and talk grandma. S remember the warm milk. You give me when I was a baby. That was so sweet. What do you remember about the early years? You'd have like jokes and stuff. Here's my husband. Brenton Courtney's father. He's raised him. Says he was four years old. You know like like the first jokey a told me he was like what you call a stolen cheese. I said what he said Nacho cheese like like it was kind of Corny but it was still funny at the same time he had he had a man. Rose have corn jokes. That's got got alone next here. He is goofing off with some of his friends. Are You doing today? What's your name Kournikova Courtney's pretending to be contested on American idol? He's in the seventh grade right at the age where his voice is changing going. Make sense right now but if you have make regulations I go into Harley Quinn. Sure knew how to turn on the charm to get what he wanted. According was kind of a manipulator. Which you you know. It was like He'd asked me for twenty dollars. Turn around and ask you for twenty dollars. Yes and then he was asking On dollars sixty dollars yet sixty dollars how he would do it and I. I wish I could do it for him now. Coordinated Energetic and Al Guam. I mean he was so handsome. He had this Karma color skin in the most incredible smile. He spent all his money and I mean all his money on food clothes. Haircuts and shoes just came back from Wisconsin. She bought me his hat. Say Good you good you. After Courtney died I went through his phone. Look L. coining. All those videos photo in social media. It made me feel like he was still right there with me. Really we call them. Gucheng high school. I don't know if it was because he was flee or because he looked like she may but we we call him Gucci. One of his friends was a kid named Chancellor Bennett. You might know this guy chance. The rapper spend spend chief and blood sport scene. Four hundred eighty minutes fans dancing hands for the minute that bracket over the summer school. You know what I'm saying not too and I hope I hope that doesn't have negative connotation and stuff but like I was in summer school. Everybody some school so yeah. He would freestyle with me. You know could get after after school and stuff and just be wrapping. Walk down the street and boxing and stuff like that. Courtney would always tell me mom. This guy is going to be huge. That was like a thing. At the time I was passing out CDs like I was burned CDs and like stand outside of Columbia. He'd be standing out there with me and he'd take CDs and from me and give them to other people's on stuff too. They went to John's College. Prep is one of the top public. Schools in Chicago coordinate played on the basketball team and he helped them win the city championship when he was seventeen or eighteen. He got a tattoo of a basketball across his chest. And it says ball too I fall. I've always hated tattoos because I'm a religious person and I believe tattoos are desecration of the body. When I first saw the tattoo. I literally cry and I say you just want to hurt your Mama don't you? The he got more tattoos including one. That says Mama's boy. How do you like that? Courtney got a partial scholarship to play ball in Indiana but we can only afford to help him so much so he had to come back home after one semester. He got a job as a janitor and a Dunkin donuts. Ready for work. My God parents put her own shoe. Put on my shirt ready for work. He was wandering through life until a friend recruited him into the business call world ventures corneas jobless assign members for discount vacations. All over the World Corny was determined to go to the top. And that's when I really show courtney turning into a man that's my mom again because positive mental attitude that he developed his change of thinking helped people treated him he became more of a leader now and just one year corny signed up so many people. The company helped him lease that. Bmw as a bonus it is world ventures wings and wheels. Step one. Get your wings steps to get your wheels. Horny asked me if I was signed for the car for him and I told him no way if he wanted to get someone else to help him that was on him so he convinced his friend. Christian Hernandez to cosign for Courtney the BMW was validation. And we all love that car. His cousin Shah. Who's a rapper? Using his music video on the Dick is all that. Don't count that dome. It was just like a typical rap video sexy girls dancing all around and the guy's money and in the video too count. That horny was living the high life just a few months before he died. He went on a trip to Cancun. Donna's right now I did something different. Say yes traffic consistent. I work hard. I mean this was a trip of a lifetime. He was just like he was on top of the world. He did the Macarena in the hotel lobby. He went scuba. I mean the jet skiing. He was doing really really well getting close to move in my basement and moving in with some friends. No here's what I know about. The last day of my son's life Corny helped a friend Move Sofa. He talked to my mom about become an in home caregiver. The application was due the next day that day. I remember I got my hair done and that night. I caught some of the Republican presidential debate. What look at those hands? Are they small? While I was watching that corning was giving a presentation for world ventures around midnight corny swung by pies on his favorite pizza place. It's a couple of blocks from a house of cicero just outside of Chicago. He ran into his friend Chris. The next day we were supposed to go on a little road trip. We're going to be there for the weekend. So we were preparing everything courtney Shell Chris. This book he was reading. It was called thinking grow rich. He was already on chapter three. I was so people this story because it felt weird because he loves the pregnant rats from zones and I didn't even get on my car yet. Usually I say by a car and I go but I stood outside on my man. That's crazy you know. He hit the bones of the car like he's happy he's reading. The book Pokorny really wasn't headed home. It turns out he had this girlfriend. A CO worker. He was dating and he was heading to see her. I replayed this nice so many times in my head. I wish I had text him like I usually would do to see when he'd be back home. Maybe then he would've just come back to the house. I don't know why I didn't check on him that night. I'm excited man. Reason why is because I understand the creation before he drove into the city? Courtney posted on snapchat. He's in his car wearing a red hoodie under his PICO. He looked so happy. And hopefully I can do. And you've got to believe in myself. His name on snapchat was born leader. Thirty four thirty four was coordinates favorite number and the night he died was march. Four three four Our after he posted on snapchat my son was being rushed to the hospital. I am calling because I just received a patient here door or call the police in Cicero where I live and What's his name is Courtney Copeland. Cop Land You. That he's in a hostel. He was actually en route to. I guess police station nearby because he had been shot and then came by ambulance. If you want to tell her what the nature of the injury again. Probably not as you know a little. After two o'clock in the morning the CICERO police came Bam on our door. When I open the door he asked me. Did I know a Courtney Copeland? I was already thinking that this is bad. The police told us that Courtney was in the hospital in Chicago. And that's it and at that point you per I remember you dropping to your knees. Mama new did I know he's gone they just don't do they don't know this is when someone did. I assumed that it had to be some type of Auto accident because according was always known for texting and driving. I remember my husband Brent Driving Our families Illinois Masonic hospital my mom according sisters my aunt we were all there. We rolled in our town and country minivan and it was in the middle of the night. I don't even recall any other cars being on the road right away. The staff wanted to take us to the family room but I knew I knew what the Family Room when they tell you that your kid is dead and I didn't go. They sent in this nurse a very kind nurse. She stayed with me. She Hill my hand to try to keep me calm. I had no idea then how important she will become to my investigation. That's when the doctor came out and told US News you know that he had died from a gunshot wound and we were like well. Why will you mean a gun? Sad will use them when the doctor said. My Courtney was shot. That was like an unbelievable. We didn't hear anything. You're everybody drops to the floor screaming. Yelling Okay Oh no no. That was the last thing that we would be. Courtney would be involved in any form of shooting because he was not that type of individual okay and he was a nonviolent person he would he would not be involved in anyone that would have guns. The doctor told us that when courtney arrive. They opened up his chest that tried to save him. I've been at the hospital for over an hour and I still hadn't seen my son you know as a mother. You want to have that confirmation. This is indeed your child. They told me I couldn't see him until detectives got there and I told them I said well. I'm GonNa tell you right now if I can't see my son I'm GonNa tear this whole hospital up. They finally let us eat courtney he phone hospital bed in the trauma unit after a few moments acts everyone to leave the head be with him. Had to be with myself began to touch him. His body was still warm his face and kissed his forehead. Told him like Saria. Wasn't there for you when you need to meet a most now walked out of the room and then it really hit me. The coding was gone. I just collapsed Cornelis France and our extended family were piling into the hospital waiting room. I remember two detectives coming in. They were white in middle aged and they told us what they knew. They said corning was shot in his car and drove himself to the police. Station corny jumped out of his car and flagged down an offer for help but the car was still moving so the officer told him to put it in park so corny hop back into the car and put the car in park and then they said the courtney ran over to the officer again and grabbed his arm. If that I've shot before collapsing then came the moment. When I thought something more than grief I felt suspicious. Say the director said they want to ask me some questions and their first one they asked me of. Corny was the owner of the BMW. Remember when I told you that Corny cosign for the car krista Hernandes Christian's name was actually on the registration and not Coordi- Cornelia stop before because of this so when the police asked me if he was the real owner of the car I started to think maybe this was a police. Stop gone wrong you know like for Landau Casteel Up. In Minnesota maybe. The police stopped him after running his place in seeing a black man. Driving a car registered in a Hispanics. Man's name the first thing that coordinates friends did is went looking for clues. They went to Belmont. Craig the neighborhood. Where Courtney was shot they saw skid marks and some broken glass on this corner near Catholic Church. They scooped up the glass and talk to a neighbor who says she heard gunshots. We put up reward posters all over the neighborhood so we would fly years and and we were on the radio. Anybody can help us get answers. I we offered a five thousand dollar reward then a six thousand then a sixty six hundred in the in. We put up ten thousand dollars but we got no answers. We try to keep Courtney's story alive in the news here. I am on a local show call Jamaica funk the mole a little background of Courtney what what would it. Courtney do quantity was a senior sales rep at world ventures Travel Industry and he was a ride in member of the Of the Chicago land area so he had wasn't just trying to solve his case. I was also fighting to protect his name. Police say Copeland was not a gang member. They can only guess right now why he was shot he graduated. Police say he wasn't a game member. Why was that even a question and to do everything I could to protect his image when reporters asked to use photos of him. I made sure he looked his best. Kuffour I just don't want to be negative about moss. Love because he does. He was not that. That's my biggest fear. Okay you prefer. We use the picture of him in the talks on his facebook page. Who did this to US ask yourself? Is that you ask for forgiveness from God looking back at my face on. Tv that night he died is literally hard to believe. That was even me lacked. Joe I remember being in so much pain but I needed to find answers. That was the only way I knew how to keep going. A few people did come forward with tips. One Guy Actually told me he was driving by the police station. And saw Courtney on the ground with cops just standing around him. This bystander basically told me when he looked at the thing he felt that the police were doing something to him and then when I began to impress him trying to get more information and that's when he was like you know I don't really want to get involved you know you don't understand the police around here. They'll come after me. And then he finally told me he was like look. I have children. I can't risk my life to basically tell you what I saw. Then there was a tow truck driver. He took a video. It's hard to make out. But it looks like coordinators laying on the ground outside the police station. The lights are flashing and no one is helping him. One of Courtney's friend a world venture guy named June this. He got in touch with the tow truck driver his thirty. The Guy says his theory was that the police did it. That was. That's the first mickey mouse minus what he's been saying says the beginning. What the police told me is that they did everything they could save him. But you know what it just wasn't adding up so I said to myself I just got bury my baby and lay him to rest and then I'll find out what really happened. I needed for strength. Turn to coordinate. The only way I could any obstacle. You know that you're going through your today understand that I will never put you raising. You cannot handle the reason why they call it a pass because he already went through. Remember how I told you that. Sense Courtney staff go through his phone. Guess how he had me listed. Oh with three exclamation points as an UH. Oh my mom's calling and you know what's he was right to be afraid because when I get onto something I don't let up and I'm putting the police on blast right now. I will find out the truth of what happened my son and when I do the whole world will know it. Really bad no bad. Somebody is a CO production of the invisible institute the intercept topic studios and iheartradio in association with Tender Foot TV. I'm chapelle wells. This podcast is produced by Alison. Flowers and Bill Healy. Sara guys is our story editor Ellen. Glover is our associate producer for the invisible institutes. Jamie Calvin is executive producer for topics studios Maria Zuckerman Christie Grespin in lethal milad are executive producers. Special thanks to Lizzie Jacobs for the intercept Roger Hodge. Deputy editor is supervising producer. Sound designed by Carl. Scott Embar warshaw. Michael Rayfield is mixed engineer. Our theme song everybody. Something is by chance. The rapper original music for the PODCAST. Nayef Fox of social experiment and Eric Butler additional reporting by Sam. Secolo any win Bahari Blackburn Rajiv Sinclair Henry Adams Mathilde Vo yet Dana. Roseau's Kelleher Francis McDonald Diana Maggi and Mattie Anderson Andrew Fan and Orissa up and TACO translation support by Bennie Hernandez Combo and Emma Perez fact checking by Noah are Jenny special. Thanks to Chris Rasmusen Epstein Matt Topic. David Brillo in Julia off. We want to hear from you. Email us at INFO as somebody PODCAST DOT COM or. Leave us a voicemail at seven seven three two seven zero zero one to one to learn more about this case and for links to additional materials. Go to our show page at somebody. Podcasts DOT COM. You can also find a list of everyone. We want to thank their. So many people helped us along the way.