A local man charged with the murder of a Joplin resident changes his plea. James Copher of Joplin is facing first degree murder and armed criminal action charges. The charges are in connection with the may 2001 shooting death of 31-year old Richard Smith of Joplin. Copher had previously pleaded "not guilty" in the case ,but has now changed his plea to "not guilty by means of mental disease of defect." After the murder Copher was on the run from authorities for several weeks. He was caught by police when he was seen returning to his Joplin home. The court has taken copher`s new plea under advisement. If accepted Copher will undergo a mental evaluation.