NORWICH – On Friday, the boyfriend of a recently deceased Oxford teen was charged with her murder.
Appearing in court, Cody D. Coleman, 18, pleaded not guilty to murder, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon. When he first entered the courtroom, he along with several others in attendance burst into tears.
In court, Coleman was accused of shooting 16-year-old Amelia Wakefield with a 16 gauge shotgun at about 6:45 p.m., May 3, at 136 Water Street in the Town of Smithville.
Chenango County District Attorney Michael Ferrarese said Coleman was looking at 25 years to life behind bars if convicted of the top charges.
Chenango County Sheriff Ernest R. Cutting Jr. said recent results from forensic evidence and other pieces of information indicated to investigators that the death was not an accident.
“As we got into the investigation a couple stories changed. Also, we got forensics back confirming the direction we are on,” said Cutting. “At that point it changed from a death investigation into a homicide investigation.”
Inside the home when police arrived were at least two other people. The sheriff identified them as the victim’s boyfriend and boyfriend’s mother. At the time of the death Coleman was on probation.
A few days after the death investigation began Coleman was charged with violating his probation in Smithville Town Court and placed in the Chenango County Correctional Facility without bail.
The sheriff said the office had tracked down more than 150 leads in the case. He also noted the strong community response.
“This has been very upsetting for the community. To lose such a vibrant young lady is a terrible, terrible thing,” he said.
On Friday a number of family members and friends of the victim attended court wearing t-shirts of support and holding pictures of Wakefield.
Coleman was remanded back to the Chenango County Correctional Facility Friday without bail.
Chenango County Court Judge Frank Revoir Jr. said part of his reasoning in placing no bail was to protect the defendant. The defense did not object. Public Defender John D. Cameron said he may make a future request for bail.
Read more in Monday’s Evening Sun.
Photograph above: Cody D. Coleman sits with Public Defender John D. Cameron as he appears in court and is charged with murder Friday. (Photo by Tyler Murphy)