Saturday, 25 May 2024

Cope sentenced to 74 years to life

LAKEPORT – A Clearlake man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder charges last month was sentenced to prison on Monday.


Judge Arthur Mann sentenced Wilbur Cope, 38, to 74 years to life in prison, said Cope's defense attorney, Stephen Carter.


On Sept. 10, 2006, Cope shot to death his girlfriend, Kristin Raviotta, before heading to the home of his ex-wife, Michelle Cain, and her husband, Terry. Along the way he crashed his vehicle, and when neighbors came to help him he shot one of them, Sharon England.


Reaching the Cains' home, he shot them through a sliding glass door with a shotgun, with Terry Cain taking the gun's full blast, as Lake County News has reported.


On Sept. 29 Cope pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for Raviotta's death, and second-degree attempted murder for shooting Terry Cain.


Carter said Cope received 15 years to life for shooting Raviotta plus 25 years to life for using a firearm. Cope also received the upper term of nine years for shooting Terry Cain, plus another 25 years to life for firearm use.


“So his total is 74 to life,” said Carter.


Cope must serve nearly 73 years before any release could be considered. He would be 111 years old.


“At which point, if he were alive, he would be eligible for parole,” said Carter.


During the Monday proceedings, Cain's son gave a victim impact statement on behalf of his family regarding Cope's actions, said Carter. Raviotta's mother also submitted a statement, which was ready by a Victim-Witness advocate.


Carter said Cope's physical injury – sustained while working as a firefighters several years ago – combined with depression and drug use “led to tragedy for Mr. Cope and the people he harmed.”


Cope entered the guilty pleas last month as part of a deal that, while ensuring Cope will spend the rest of his life in prison, meant he would not face trial for first-degree murder, as Lake County News reported.


By voluntarily entering into the disposition agreement, Cope made sure that the surviving victims and their families do not have to go through a long trial and will not be forced to re-live what took place, said Carter.


Attorney Angela Carter, who worked with husband Stephen on the case, said that the agreement also meant no jury trial and no years of appeals in this case.


Cope is expected to be transported to state prison soon. A benefit of that plea is that Cope will not be housed with prisoners convicted of the higher murder charge, and so he'll have a chance at a better quality of life during incarceration, Stephen Carter said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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