Billy Wayne Cope

Billy Wayne Cope"Neighbors, friends, and fellow churchgoers from the Rock Hill, S.C. community (a suburb of Charlotte) were stunned when 38 year old Billy Wayne Cope was arrested and charged with beating, sexually assaulting, and murdering his 12 year old daughter Amanda in December 2001. .... He was charged when, after 4 days of interrogation, he confessed on videotape to the murder during a crime scene reenactment at his home. None of the preceding days of interrogation had been recorded. And an evaluation of Cope shortly after his arrest showed that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of finding his daughter dead."

The Case

Billy Wayne Cope was charged with beating, sexually assaulting, and murdering his 12-year-old daughter Amanda.  Amanda died at her family's Rich Street home in Rock Hill.  Police suspected Cope, as there were no signs of forced entry to their home.  After four days of interrogation while suffering from the stress of finding his daughter dead, Cope confessed to the crime. Later DNA tests of the semen found inside Amanda matched another man, James Edward Saunders, who had a history of break-ins involving sexual assaults.  Saunders had moved into Cope's neighborhood a few weeks before. Instead of dropping the charges against Cope, police, not wanting to waste a coerced confession, merely added a conspiracy charge, despite the fact that no connection was established between Cope and Saunders. In 2004, both Cope and Saunders were convicted of the crime. (From

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