Murder trial begins in Trinity Copeland trial

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Updated: 4/16 4:37 pm

TROY, N.Y. – Opening statements began in the Trinity Copeland trial Wednesday.

Copeland was charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of her father, Harlan Copeland.

The prosecution says the teen stole her father's ATM card and made purchases totaling $150 with it. They told the jury that Copeland initially told a neighbor and police someone broke into the apartment and shot her father.

According to the prosecution, Copeland she showed no emotion and later changed her story.

"There was no phantom burglar, there was no stranger at all. It was the defendant. She shot her father in the head. She shot him as he lay down on the couch, sound asleep, defenseless," said Assistant District Attorney Shane Hug.

However, the defense told the jury that Copeland had no choice and reminded them that there are times when you have to use force to protect yourself.

"The proof is going to show that she had no choice. That's the only thing she could do under those circumstances or she would not have survived the moment," explained defense attorney Michael Feit.

The Troy woman once admitted to killing her own father.

Copeland spent about 10 months behind bars after she admitted to the shooting.

She was released from the Rensselaer County Jail in May 2013, when the murder indictment against the teen was dropped. Rensselaer County District Attorney Richard McNally said the court found prosecutors failed to properly instruct grand jury.

In September of 2013 she was re-arraigned on charges of second-degree Murder and first-degree Manslaughter, to which she plead not guilty.

Authorities say Harlan Copeland was found with one gunshot wound to the head. A firearm, believed to be the weapon involved, was recovered at scene.

Jurors were selected Tuesday.

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