*I have recently updated this story in respect of a few areas that were incorrect. I have been in contact with Katina, you can follow Katina on Twitter for further updates on Michael’s case here: @KatinaSensing. I am also able to add some extra points that Katina has passed on to me.
This time next month, exactly 26 years ago, on the 22nd July 1993, a young 20-year-old boy’s life would change forever.
Michael Cope thought he was doing the right thing after an altercation would end up with a jewellery shop owner, Mr. Hamilton laying dead in a pool of his own blood. Not was all that it seemed though. Michael knew Hamilton, in fact, very well, although the relationship benefited only one.
Hamilton was a groomer, a child molester, a paedophile.
Hamilton would give Michael, and other young boys: cannabis, alcohol and cocaine. He would also get the boys to hide jewellery so that he could say he had been robbed and claim on the insurance. Hamilton was no law abiding citizen.
I have previously spoken about the time, as an eight year old child, how I was sexually abused by a toy-shop owner who lived above his shop. (WTF!!!! Chapter two) He would groom the local young boys with toys from his shop. Imagine being an 8-year old, having free reign of a toy-shop. However, I would have rather paid in cash. That was nearly 42 years ago, yet it still causes me severe nightmares, anxiety and trust issues. Although that has slightly eased over the years and is not, as, intense these days.
On the fateful day, Michael had gone to Hamilton to ask him for some jewellery., however, Michael hadn’t seen Hamilton for 3 years. Michael was his favourite and Hamilton became angry. Hamilton said NO! So Michael went to leave he and as soon as he grabbed the door handle Hamilton jumped on Michael‘s back and a struggle ensued. Hamilton kept and gun, a gun he used to show off to the boys, Hamilton was trying to make for the gun. He was also strangling Michael, who, not being able to breath, started to kick out. In the struggle Michael had seen a knife, grabbed it and backwards over his shoulder stabbed Hamilton. They both fell into a glass display case. As Hamilton chased Michael to his car he dropped to the floor. A piece of glass had ruptured an artery and Hamilton bled to death.
What would you have done, you, the only suspect, with: no witnesses, carrying drugs, a man dead that molested you for years, scared, alone. Twenty years old?
I know what I would have done, but Michael drove to the nearest phone box where he telephoned the emergency services and the police and stayed there.
A simple case of self-defense right?
After he was taken in, because Michael couldn’t afford a lawyer he was appointed a public defender. Michael told him every single detail of what happened, including Hamilton keeping a load of photographs of the boys. They never made it to court.
Self-defense shouldn’t be a problem. You’d like to think so?
Michael‘s public defender withheld the information and instead went on to convince a scared, lonely Michael – who wasn’t aware of the process so of course relied on the expert in this situation – to take a plea bargain (just like the over 90% of criminal court hearings in America) and pleaded guilty. So, the young Michael did what most would do in his situation and listened to the expert. Michael was subsequently sentenced to 20 years to life. Still! At least he didn’t face the death penalty.
That was 26 years ago, Michael is no longer a twenty year old boy. He is now 46 and still in prison. Along with taking class after class Michael is a model prisoner. He has worked in the prison industries, holding down a steady job for 18 years and counting. His fellow prisoners, the chaplain, and even the prison staff themselves, all speak very highly of Michael. In fact, the original police investigator all those years ago told Michael had he not called them, they wouldn’t have been able to solve the crime.
On 3 occasions (hence 4 Justice! as part of the title) Michael has had his parole denied. All due to the crime itself.
How will that ever change?
It is what it is.
Will be, what it always will be, forever more. How can the seriousness of the original crime change?
BUT! Add in, the parole board are only basing their decisions on a version of events and not the full facts of the case, because Michael pleaded guilty to a version of events, many years ago as a young boy, scared and in exchange for his life. Michael felt he had no other choice plus he took the so-called experts advice.
Remember Michael called the police himself. And! Also remember that Hamilton had been molesting boys for years, accepted facts.
Can you honestly say justice has been served in this situation, could any one say that?
It is time Michael was at home with his loved ones; his family and friends, and his supporters, like me, who can’t wait for that day he walks free.
Well, this is where you can help. Michael‘s team have set up a petition which we wish to get to the next milestone of 7,500. This is the link to ‘MICHAEL’S PETITION’ that will take you to the petition where YOU! can make a difference.