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Frank James COPPOLA

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Former police officer - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 22, 1978
Date of birth: 1944
Victim profile: Muriel Hatchell (flower delivery woman)
Method of murder: The victim's head was slammed repeatedly into floor
Location: Newport News, Virginia, USA
Status: Executed by electrocution in Virginia on August 8, 1982
 
 
 
 
 
 

Frank James Coppola (1944ľAugust 10, 1982), was a former police officer from Portsmouth, Virginia who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1978 capital murder of Muriel Hatchell.

According to reports, a co-conspirator with Coppola disguised as a flower delivery woman to enter her home, the woman pulled out a pistol from amidst the floral display which she was carrying, allowing cover for Coppola and others to rush into the home.

Hatchell was bound with Venetian blind cords and then had her head was slammed repeatedly into floor by Coppola until she died. The group fled with $3,100 in cash and some rings from the crime scene.

On September 26, 1978, Coppola was convicted of first-degree capital murder and sentenced to death in Virginia's electric chair. He waived his appeals and was executed on August 10, 1982, the first person executed in Virginia since the Supreme Court reinstituted capital punishment in 1976. He was also the first person executed in Virginia since 1962.

  


 

Frank Coppola, a former police officer, maintained his innocence of the 1978 murder of Muriel Hatchell. He dismissed his lawyers and waived his appeals, saying that he wished to spare his family the ''tremendous hardship'' of further appeals and to save his children from ''schoolyard taunts''.

 
 


 

Murderer is executed in Virginia after justice overrules last stay

Frank J. Coppola, convicted in 1978 of beating a Newport News woman to death, was executed in the electric chair here tonight after Chief Justice Warren E. Burger overruled a stay granted earlier today by a Federal appeals court judge.

Mr. Coppola, a 38-year-old former policeman, was electrocuted, as he had said he ''adamantly'' wished to be, in the basement of the Richmond State Penitentiary. He was pronounced dead at 11:29 P.M.

 
 

Frank J. Coppola

Victim: Muriel Hatchell

Hatchell was murdered during a 1978 robbery at her home in Newport News. After Hatchell allowed a coconspirator disguised as a flower delivery woman to enter her home, the woman pulled out a pistol from amidst the floral display which she was carrying, allowing cover for Coppola and others to rush into the home.

Hatchell was bound with venetian blind cords and then had her head was slammed repeatedly into floor by Coppola until she died. The group fled with $3,100 in cash and some rings from the crime scene.

After his September 26, 1978 conviction, Coppola dropped appeals and volunteered to have his sentence carried out. He was the first inmate executed in Virginia since Carroll Garland was executed for a Lynchburg murder in 1962.

 
 

August 10, 1982. Virginia. Frank J. Coppola. Electrocution.

Although no media representatives witnessed the execution and no details were ever released by the Virginia Department of Corrections, an attorney who was present later stated that it took two 55-second jolts of electricity to kill Coppola. The second jolt produced the odor and sizzling sound of burning flesh, and Coppola's head and leg caught on fire. Smoke filled the death chamber from floor to ceiling with a smokey haze.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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