Charles Coates Sentenced to 33 Years in Cousin’s Death

Judge William Jackson sentenced Charles Coates to 33 years in prison Friday for a 2011 shooting that killed Eddie A. Leonard Jr., Coates’ cousin.

A jury found Coates guilty of second-degree murder and three related weapons charges in September. Prosecutors argued that Coates led Leonard to an alley behind the 400 block of 24th Street Northeast in a dispute over $200 Coates needed to pay his cable bill.

Coates’ attorney sought to secure a new trial for Coates, arguing that a juror knew Coates’ wife, LaShun Cloutterbuck, from their work together from the cafeteria at The George Washington University Hospital and had once flirted with her. Jackson ruled against the motion earlier this week.

Jackson said Coates had not cooperated with investigators and had instead sought to mislead police looking into the case.

He said Coates told officers he was not at the scene of the crime and blamed another man for the shooting. Jackson said he found Coates’ actions troubling.

I suspect, had that individual [named by Coates] not had an alibi, he would have been charged in this case,” Jackson said.

Jackson said Coates attempted to enlist his mother to help him thwart investigators by contacting the Metropolitan Police Department’s Crime Solvers hotline claiming to be a witness to the murder. Coates wanted his mother to identify another person as the shooter, Jackson said.

Coates, speaking to family members who were in court, said he didn’t blame them for being upset with him.

But, he added, “I didn’t kill your kid.”

A press release from the US Attorney’s Office is below. Sentencing documents will be added to this post.

District Man Sentenced to 33 Years in Prison
For Slaying of Man in Northeast Washington
- Defendant Lured Victim to an Alley Following a Dispute Over Money -

WASHINGTON - Charles Coates, 43, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 33 years in prison on charges stemming from a murder last year in Northeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

A jury found Coates guilty in September 2012, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, of second-degree murder while armed and three weapons felonies. He was sentenced by the Honorable William M. Jackson.

According to the government’s evidence, Coates shot and killed Eddie Leonard, Jr., 32, at about 11:50 p.m., on Feb. 20, 2011, in an alley behind the 400 block of 24th Street NE. Mr. Leonard was a son of the defendant’s first cousin. The evidence presented at trial showed that Coates and Mr. Leonard had a dispute over money earlier that day, which led Coates to lure Mr. Leonard to the alley that night, and shoot him once in the head with a .380 caliber handgun.

Coates was arrested in the case on April 20, 2011.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives and officers from the Metropolitan Police Department who responded to the scene of the murder and canvassed the area for evidence and witnesses. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paul Howell and Joe Calvarese, of the Litigation Technology Unit; Paralegal Specialists Sandra Lane and Alesha Matthews Yette of the Homicide Section; Marcey Rinker, Michael Hailey and David Foster of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Miller, who oversaw the grand jury investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman, who prosecuted the case at trial.

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