Appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington Honorable Brian D. Lynch, Bankruptcy Judge, Presiding Bk. No. 09-47782 Adv. No. 09-04192
U.S. BKCY. APP. PANEL OF THE NINTH CIRCUIT
Argued and Submitted on October 21, 2011 at Seattle, Washington
Before: WALLACE,*fn2 PAPPAS, AND JURY, Bankruptcy Judges.
Debtor Walter W. Copland ("Copland") appeals the Order and Judgment of the bankruptcy court decreeing that the debt owed by him to Bonnie Anthis*fn3 ("Creditor") is the result of willful and malicious injury and therefore not dischargeable pursuant to section 523(a)(6).*fn4 For the reasons stated below, we AFFIRM.
Copland is a retired police officer from the City of Tacoma Police Department. He often spent time in Kennewick, Washington, where his son lived. As a result, he became acquainted with John Stevens, who lived across the street from Copland's son, and with Mr. Stevens's friend Al Anthis. On September 15, 2005, Mr. Stevens and Copland spent time together during the day, including a visit to the Burbank Tavern in nearby Walla Walla County. After stopping to purchase whiskey and vodka, Mr. Stevens and Copland returned to Stevens's house later in the afternoon, where they met up with Mr. Anthis. The three men hung out on
Mr. Stevens's deck, talking about fishing trips, eating hot wings and drinking around a four to five foot hexagonal table.
Mr. Stevens, as host, was in and out of the house cooking the hot wings and described the ensuing events as he observed 1 them. He recalled Copland saying to Mr. Anthis "I could shoot 2 and kill you," and Mr. Anthis responding "Bring it on." Copland 3 then stood up from his stool, walked behind Mr. Stevens and 4 around the table to Mr. Anthis. He pulled out a .22 derringer, 5 placed it up to Mr. Anthis's right temple and fired. Mr. Stevens 6 saw the flash of the shot, heard the shot, and at that point saw 7 that Copland was holding the gun. He did not see him pull the 8 trigger. Mr. Anthis instantly fell off his bar stool to the 9 floor. Copland then returned to his seat, put the gun in his 10 back pocket, and placed his head in his hands, saying "Oh, my 11 God, I've killed Al."
12 The Kennewick police arrived quickly in response to a call 13 and found Mr. Stevens and Copland still sitting on the deck.
14 After being handcuffed and having the handgun removed from his 15 pocket, Copland told the officers "I'm sorry. I killed him. 16 He's dead." He repeated a similar statement when an officer 17 checked Mr. Anthis's pulse and thought he found one.
18 The next day at the jail Copland was trying to reach his son 19 by phone. When he was unsuccessful, the duty officer suggested 20 he call his son's neighbor, Mr. Stevens, for assistance. Copland 21 responded, "That's cold. I can't call him. I just shot and 22 killed our best friend." A detective who talked to Copland that 23 day testified that Copland was ...