Woman pleads guilty in connection to Copley murder, will be released on parole

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ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Altoona woman has pled guilty of criminal conspiracy to engage in the abuse of a corpse in the murder case of Catherine Copley.

Copley, whose body was found in a garage in Altoona in June 2016, was said to be placed there after her husband allegedly killed her. Samantha Musselman of Altoona was charged with her connection to the case.

Musselman faced President Judge Elizabeth Doyle over video Monday morning and took a guilty plea. She admitted to conspiring with Michael Copley and that they took it a step further and “completed the conspiracy.”

Musselman was sentenced to 12-24 months in prison with credit for time already served. She has been in prison for 17 months already and will be given parole and released later on Monday, May 4, 2020.

Catherine Copley’s mother and sister both addressed Musselman in court and had two letters from Copley’s nieces as well.

Musselman and her attorney where not physically in the courtroom because of the COVID Emergency. Instead, they video conferenced in.

Catherine Copley’s family told WTAJ that they wanted to see Musselman in person so “she could see and hear what she put (them) through.” They also said the technology issues inside the courtroom because of the video conference made the hearing “more difficult to sit through” and they weren’t sure if Musselman was hearing everything they said in their impact statements.

Judge Doyle ordered that Musselman is not to have contact with the family or any others who were impacted by her actions.

Michael Copley is being charged with murder and was set to have his trial in March. He is currently in prison awaiting his trial to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The family added the sentencing was not enough in their eyes because “Musselman knew where Catherine’s body was the whole time and made (them) suffer even longer.”

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