Gwynne Furches charged with murder
Today, 22-year-old Gwynne Macdonald Furches of Greensboro was charged with second-degree murder. Her bond was raised today from $500,000 to $750,000, according to a press release by the Greensboro Police Department.
As reported in the article ‘Internet famous’ Greensboro singer faces felony, Furches was arrested on May 31 for the death of Elijah Edward Coppedge, also of Greensboro. At around 10 p.m. on the evening of May 30, Furches veered off East Gate City Boulevard. and fatally struck the 72-year-old Coppedge, who was walking beside the road. She then struck a light pole and crashed through a privacy fence before coming to rest at 14 Aggie Ct.
According to the arriving officers and EMTs, Furches did not acknowledge hitting anyone and claimed to be her own twin sister, Jessa MacDonald Furches, as she had in a DWI incident on I-85 in February of last year. Neither police, EMS nor the resident who called 911 realized that Coppedge had been struck and was lying nearby. His body was discovered some minutes later by the crew of an arriving fire truck.
During Furches’ first court appearance on June 3, she was charged with Felony Death by Motor Vehicle and DWI. During that session, assistant district attorney Leah Howell told Judge Becky Brown that Howell might, at Furches’ next court appearance, ask for the charges to be raised to ““B2 Second-Degree Murder.” That is what happened today.
Whereas Felony Death by Motor Vehicle is a Class D felony with a maximum sentence of 160 months (13.33 years) in prison, a B2 felony carries a maximum sentence of 393 months (32.75 years). N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-17 states that “a person who commits second degree murder shall be punished as a Class B2 felon” if the “malice necessary to prove second degree murder is based on an inherently dangerous act or omission, done in such a reckless and wanton manner as to manifest a mind utterly without regard for human life and social duty.” In other words, while “malice” is necessary to demonstrate second-degree murder, the legal definition of that term does not require that the defendant intended to kill or injure others, but instead evidenced reckless disregard for human life.
Gwynne Macdonald Furches and Jessa Macdonald Furches (not present at the May 30 accident, but the owner of the car her sister was driving) lived together until recently in the College Hill neighborhood of Greensboro. The siblings are identical twins known for their YouTube videos and their battle with cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestines. There is no currently known cure and it typically greatly reduces the life expectancy of those suffering from it.
A 2015 WFMY News 2 report, Greensboro’s Furches Twins: ‘We’re Living Our Dream,’ described the then 18-year-old siblings as struggling to overcome “illness and bullies” and record music videos despite the condition that made singing painful. It called the twins “internet famous” and described them as having over 900,000 followers on social media.
As previous reported, their combined driving record includes seven crashes and 3 DWIs in the last four years. In every incident except the first, the cars were owned by Jessa Furches. Gwynne Furches was the driver in four of those incidents, Jessa Furches the driver in the other three. In at least four of the seven crashes, the other sibling was a passenger in the car.
Both sisters have upcoming court dates unrelated to the May 30 fatality. On July 25, Jessa Furches faces misdemeanor charges of DWI and Failure to Reduce Speed for a March 11 2019 arrest on Fulton Street.
On Sept 11 of this year, Gwynne Furches is scheduled to appear in court for a Feb. 13, 2018, crash on I-85 in which she was charged with DWI, reckless driving to endanger and resisting a public officer.