Florida Man Sentenced to 25 Years for 2020 Murder of a Copeland Park Man

David Jerome Lemon Jr., aged 29, has been sentenced to a minimum mandatory of 25 years in the Florida Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to Second-degree Murder, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle.

The sentencing follows a thorough investigation by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and legal proceedings by the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.

Bill Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney, stated, “The gravity of Lemon’s actions shook our community, robbing residents of their sense of security and leaving a profound impact on the victim’s family and friends.”

The incident occurred on February 20, 2020, at Copeland Park, where 26-year-old Tyler Hopkins was fatally shot. Lemon was identified as a person of interest, but he fled the area upon law enforcement’s attempt to locate him.

Despite Lemon’s evasion, concerted efforts by CCSO’s Major Crimes Unit, Tactical Impact Unit, and the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force led to his arrest on February 4, 2021.

Sheriff Mike Prendergast of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office remarked, “Lemon’s reckless actions took a young life and caused immeasurable pain to the victim’s family and friends. We are grateful for the tireless efforts of our personnel and the U.S. Marshals in apprehending Lemon, as well as our dedicated prosecutors in ensuring justice for his crime.”

The sentencing underscores law enforcement’s commitment to upholding justice and safeguarding the community.

Assistant State Attorneys Rich Buxman and Rob Lewis successfully prosecuted the case.

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