Nightmare In Napa
Adriane Insogna, left, with her friend, Lily Prudhomme. (CBS/Arlene Allen)
Copple told investigators he did not remember what he did with the knife he used to stab Adriane and Leslie. He offered no motive for killing Leslie.
In order to spare the families the ordeal of a trial, Copple and the district attorney struck a deal. Pleading guilty to two counts of first degree murder, Copple was spared the death penalty.
At his sentencing last January, Arlene Allen finally got her chance to confront Eric Copple. "Eric, you knew Adriane," Arlene said in court. "You know me and Eric, I know you. You are a man who violently stabbed to death the best friend of the woman you loved. That is not love Eric. You cannot love Lily and bring a knife into Adriane's home and stab her again and again and again and again and again and again and again and yet again."
As Arlene drove home the brutality of his deed, Copple sat stone-faced. But his demeanor started to change when the final speaker stepped up to the podium: his wife, Lily.
Lily was given special permission to speak on her husband's behalf. "I wish with all my heart these events had been avoided," she said.
But her expression of sympathy and regret took a quick turn when she spoke directly to her husband. "Eric, there is nothing you could do to make me love you any less. These words are just as true today as they were on that afternoon," she said.
Because Lily and Adriane's mother Arlene had been so close, the words stung. "I was very shocked and stunned. I found that a very—shocking statement," Arlene says.
And then it was Copple's turn. The courtroom waited anxiously as he tried to compose himself.
"I am a broken man. A man splintered...by a penetrating awareness…of my own potential for wickedness. While I cannot fathom... the full extent of the anguish that I have caused...I recognize that my sinful deeds have inflicted terrific agony on a number of people. The words evade me to articulate the depths of my sorrow," he said in court.
The judge only allowed the first minute of Copple's statement to be recorded. But he went on to say, "I was afraid my relationship with Lily – the singular ray of light in my black world – was in peril of collapsing."
In his own tortured mind, Copple believed Adriane was poisoning Lily's feelings for him.
Because of the plea deal, Copple's sentencing was a mere formality: life behind bars, without the possibility of parole.
The case of the Napa murders is solved now.
Leslie's mother Cathy refuses to dwell on her grief. "Leslie's life speaks for itself," she says. "Her 26 years were full and rich and productive and she was a gift. … I'm so grateful that I got to be her mom and that she brightened our lives. I miss her a lot."
And Arlene also clings on to memories of her daughter. "I sometimes expect to see her walking in the door. I see her face clearly beside me and then I understand just what a loss is."
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