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Martinsburg man pleads no contest to three felony counts of first-degree sex abuse

Russell Coates Jr. was sentenced to serve three, one to five-year sentences concurrently

February 01, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • Coates
Coates

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 52-year-old Martinsburg man accused of kidnapping and repeatedly sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in March 2009 pleaded no contest Tuesday to three felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher  C. Wilkes sentenced Russell Coates Jr. to serve three, one to five-year sentences concurrently as part of a plea agreement.

Coates, who has been incarcerated since March 5, 2009, was ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release after serving his sentence and must also register with the West Virginia State Police as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life.

One count of kidnapping, six counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of delivery of a controlled substance (crack cocaine) were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

The agreement was reached just before Coates' trial was to begin this week.

The victim, who was sitting in the back of the courtroom, was tearful and unable to give a statement, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Jones said after briefly talking with her.

Jones said she told him that she just wanted to tell the court that because of Coates, she is scared of people and that the ordeal affected her emotionally. And she hopes the defendant thinks about what he did while incarcerated.

Jones said the victim agreed to the plea agreement.

Jones told the court that prosecutors were prepared to present evidence that the defendant had offered to give her money to help pay fines, but when she arrived at his house on March 4 he forced her to have sex with him multiple times.

The assault continued for a significant period of time until she was able to escape and went to City Hospital in Martinsburg for an examination, Jones said.

DNA evidence linked the defendant to the victim, Jones said.

In a brief interview after the hearing, Jones said the delivery of a controlled substance charge stemmed from the victim's allegation that she was forced by the defendant to smoke crack cocaine while at his residence.

In the initial complaint filed against Coates, the victim told police her fines were for shoplifting, according to court records.

The victim told police she became acquainted with Coates while he worked at the Martinsburg Walmart, and that he had offered to help her out if she did a favor for him, according to court records.

"...She thought it would be something stupid like running his errands and stuff like that," Martinsburg Patrol Officer K.M. Barrett said in a complaint against Coates.

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