South Carolina

Man serving life for killing daughter in disputed case dies

A 53-year-old man in prison for raping and killing of his daughter has died, as his lawyers continue to insist that DNA evidence shows he was not guilty.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Billy Wayne Cope died from natural causes while in custody Thursday.

Prosecutors say Cope confessed to the death of his 12-year-old daughter in 2001. Their case was rocked when DNA evidence from the girl's body and clothes only matched a neighbor.

Prosecutors then said Cope let James Sanders into his home knowing he was going to attack his daughter, and that Cope had attacked the girl previously. Sanders is serving life in prison.

Cope's defense lawyers told The Herald of Rock Hill (http://bit.ly/2lwq3y6) Cope's death was a sad end to a horrible miscarriage of justice.

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Information from: The Herald, http://www.heraldonline.com