Funeral ends with stabbings

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

A funeral service at Old Belmont Cemetery last Saturday was supposed to honor the life and legacy of James Daniel Spidle. But two men’s apparent disdain for each other has turned Spidle’s funeral service into nothing more than an after-thought.

According to District Attorney Greg Griggers, Jim M. Reid and Roy Copeland &045;&045; two Demopolis business owners &045;&045; left Spidle’s funeral upset with each other. Their feud resulted in a knife battle that sent both men to a local hospital and eventually to DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

Apparently, Reid had pulled his car over as well when both men confronted each other. At some point after that confrontation, both men wielded knives.

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From what Griggers has learned from Sumter County sheriff’s deputies, Reid allegedly stabbed Copeland a number of times.

Griggers also said Copeland had a slice on his shoulder and possibly one on his face.

As for Reid, Griggers said there was a knife wound on his forearm.

After the confrontation, Copeland apparently drove his car back to Old Belmont Cemetery where Spidle’s funeral was held and Demopolis Dr. Reese Holifield was there to help take care of Copeland’s injuries. However, the extent of the injuries forced Holifield to ride with Copeland to Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital in Demopolis.

While Copeland was being taken to the hospital, Reid apparently drove himself to the Demopolis Police Department to turn himself in.

According to Demopolis Police, Sumter County law enforcement officials had to handle the case because of the jurisdiction and Demopolis officials could not make the arrest.

Reid then apparently left the Demopolis Police Department and drove himself to Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital and checked himself into the emergency room.

As for other details of the case, Griggers said it’s still too early to tell.

Sumter County sheriff’s deputies were still working on warrants as of press time and could not discuss details of the case with the media. Sheriff Johnny Hatter was attending a state sheriff’s conference this week and a receptionist said Hatter was the only person who could comment on the case.