A Monroe man was arrested for participating in an execution-style killing in southern Monroe last week, three months after a local judge allowed the then-murder suspect to roam about with only an ankle monitor.
Since December 2018, Fourth Judicial District Attorney Steve Tew’s office asked the court — twice — to hold Devontae Demarcus Coleman, 21, of Monroe, without bond.
At the time, Coleman faced a second-degree murder charge.
He was accused of killing Junius Benton in August 2017. Court documents showed Coleman had violated his court-ordered curfew and freely ventured beyond the boundaries set by the GPS monitor attached to his ankle.
During a June 20 court hearing, Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Larry Jefferson denied the district attorney’s motion to hold Coleman in jail. Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Marcus Hunter also has allowed Coleman to be released on his own recognizance since the district attorney first moved to hold him without bond.
Last week, Monroe police arrested Coleman on a second charge of second-degree murder in the death of Darrell Stevenson. Police also are seeking information about Robert Kim Coleman, 37, of Mesquite, Texas, who is wanted on a second-degree murder charge.
Arrest warrants indicated Coleman helped Robert Coleman kill Stevenson in retaliation for the death of Christopher Coleman. Christopher Coleman was Robert Coleman’s brother and Devontae Coleman’s
“It’s stemming from Christopher Coleman’s death,” said Monroe Police Det. Reginald “Reggie” Brown, the department’s public information officer. “To my understanding, they thought he was involved in the death of Christopher Coleman. It was a heated act. At the wake. Resulted in the young man’s loss of life.”
Christopher Coleman was shot and killed Sept. 14 on South 6th Street in Monroe. Devontae Coleman and Robert Coleman retaliated nearly a week later, according to the warrant.
Stevenson died Sept. 20 in a shooting in the 1700 block of South 5th Street. The investigation revealed the victim, Darrell Stevenson, was driving south while Devontae Coleman was driving a car directly in front of Stevenson. A black male later identified as Robert Coleman approached Stevenson, who tried to leave but was blocked by Devontae Coleman. Robert Coleman, who was described as “very upset,” produced a gun and shot Stevenson several times through the car’s back window.
“Once Stevenson was shot he fell out of his vehicle face down on the ground,” stated the arrest warrant. “Devontae Coleman threw a brick and struck Stevenson and then kicked him three times in the head. Coleman blocking in Stevenson directly (led) to him being shot and appeared to be part of a planned attack on Stevenson. This attack was in retaliation for the death of Devontae Coleman’s uncle.”
Stevenson was driving a vehicle that belonged to another unidentified person that Devontae Coleman believed was responsible for Christopher Coleman’s death, according to the arrest warrant.
In light of the shootings, Mayor Jamie Mayo departed from his past pattern of downplaying violent crime in Monroe to say the city was afflicted with too many “senseless shootings.”
“We know that gun violence is an issue in our city, and we’re very, very concerned about it,” said Mayo, during a news conference Monday at Monroe City Hall. “There’s too many senseless shootings and violence. In 2018, we had six homicides by this time. This year, we’ve had 10 already. We have three and a half months left to go. And it needs to stop.”
DA: Suspect a ‘flight risk’
In light of another murder charge against Devontae Coleman, the district attorney’s office has asked the court to reconsider its decision to let the suspect out on bond.
“The State is of the belief that the Defendant poses a danger to the community, and if bonded he is a flight risk,” stated the district attorney’s request to hold Devontae Coleman without bond. “The State would show that this current crime was committed while defendant was wearing an electronic monitoring device and already subjected to active electronic monitoring, home and curfew restrictions. The State submits that the Defendant continues to break the law after being released on bond. The Defendant is currently out on bond on previous arrests for which he is awaiting prosecution.”
Assistant District Attorney Nick Anderson signed the district attorney’s request last week to hold Devontae Coleman without bond. Though a $2 million bond was set for Devontae and Robert Coleman, a hearing to consider the district attorney’s request was set for later this month.
As previously reported by The Ouachita Citizen, the district attorney’s office asked Jefferson to hold Devontae Coleman without bond during a hearing in December 2018. Instead, Jefferson released Coleman and ordered that he only be electronically monitored through an ankle bracelet.
The district attorney’s motion to revoke Coleman’s bond in February cited Coleman’s arrests for simple burglary, theft of a firearm, aggravated arson, conspiracy to commit aggravated arson among others.
“The State shows that the Defendant has violated the court’s GPS order conditions on multiple occasions,” stated Ross’ motion to revoke Coleman’s bond. “Per the attached reports from Innovative Monitoring Network, Defendant was absent from his home from 9:05 p.m. on 2/15/19 through at least 12:29 a.m. on 2/16/19. Defendant moved throughout Monroe and West Monroe during that time period.”
The district attorney motion noted several other times when Coleman violated the court’s orders by leaving his home and traveling across the area during the hours when he was ordered to stay at home.
A Dec. 6, 2018 warrant for Coleman’s arrest for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile indicated authorities obtained a search warrant for Coleman’s phone and found a video on the phone in which a child, who was two to three years of age, sitting in Coleman’s lap and smoking.
“The child is holding a hand rolled cigar and is smoking it,” stated the Dec. 6, 2018 warrant. “The child inhales the substance and coughs. Coleman is heard laughing and saying, ‘Gang shit man...my nigga thuggin already.’”
The video’s time stamp data showed the video was captured at Coleman’s home.
Previous murder charge
Meanwhile, the second-degree murder charge against Devontae Coleman for the death of Junius Benton is still pending. A Ouachita Parish grand jury indicted him on the murder charge in August 2017, stemming from a Monroe police investigation of a shooting near Milliken Street and Long Drive.
A witness informed police that an argument broke out between a group of black males, according to the police report. At one point, the murder victim, Benton, began screaming that he had been shot.
“During the incident, it was discovered that an altercation occurred just prior to the shooting between two feuding groups in the neighborhood,” stated the June 29, 2017 Monroe police arrest report. “As the situation escalated, several individuals pulled out handguns and shots were fired. During the shooting, a 16-year-old male was shot and killed in the street.”
Witness testimony and videos identified Coleman as one of the shooters. Benton was Coleman’s cousin.