Reco Pernell Coates III and his attorney, Thomas Dybdahl, greeted each other with smiles yesterday just before Judge William Jackson accepted Coates’ plea of guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2007 murder of 39-year-old Anthony Collins.
Coates, 22, was arrested in 2009 and originally pled innocent to two counts of first-degree murder, burglary while armed, robbery while armed and several weapons charges. These charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
On November 12, 2007, Collins heard a knock at his front door. It was Coates, along with others, pretending to want drugs, according to the government’s proffer of facts.
As Collins opened the door, one of the men shoved a gun through the doorway.
“You know what time it is,” the robber yelled.
According to the documents, Collins’ attempt to barricade the door with his body was overcome by swinging knives. Coates and crew forced their way into the apartment where they continued to stab and cut Collins, before stealing crack cocaine and fleeing the apartment, the documents state.
Collins was transported to a hospital where he slipped into a coma. He remained there for 46 days until his death on December 28, 2007.
Coates later confessed to D.C. police that he was one of the robbers, and that the event had led to Collins’ death.
Coates’ case was transferred between judges eight times, and the trial date was rescheduled six times, before the plea agreement was signed last Saturday.
Sentencing is scheduled for January 11, 2013. The government and Dybdahl agreed that eight years in prison is the appropriate sentence for Coates; the maximum penalty is 30 years.
The plea agreement is below: