Man pleads down to manslaughter

Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

A murder case that had been long on the circuit court docket finally got resolved earlier this week.
Thirty-four-year-old Antwain D. Coates, 34, jailed since May 2016, entered a plea of no contest to a lesser included charge of manslaughter with a firearm on Monday, March 11, and received a 10-year prison sentence, to be followed by 10 years of probation.
Coates also pleaded no contest to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years.
In accordance with the negotiated plea agreement with the state, Judge Dawn Caloca-Johnson made the three years concurrent with the the 10-year sentence.
Coates was charged with first-degree felony murder, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison if convicted. The second charge carried a possible 15-year sentence if convicted.
The judge adjudicated Coates guilty on both counts, and the state reserved the right to seek restitution for the victim's funeral expenses.
The case dates from May 4, 2016, when Coates fatally shot 41-year-old Tommy Slater in the southeast part of town during wee hours of a Wednesday. According to eyewitnesses, as related to the Monticello Police Department (MPD) at the time, the shooting was the finale to a heated argument between the two men.
Eyewitnesses told police that Slater made derogatory remarks to Coates, who left the scene and returned with another individual and a weapon to confront Slater. When officers arrived on the scene at Park Avenue and First Street near 4 a.m. in response to a report of gunfire, they found Slater shot. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Coates turned himself in to police later the same day and was charged with first-degree murder.
On Monday, the judge credited him with 1,042 days served in the county jail, which equates to almost three years.
Prosecuting the case was Assistant State Attorney Andrew Deneen. Representing Coats was Assistant Public Defender Nina Moody, who replaced Davis Revell. Revell retired recently.