Charles Coates Ordered Held in Death of Eddie Leonard Jr.

Charles Monroe Coates was ordered held today on suspicion of first degree murder in the shooting death of Eddie A. Leonard Jr. in a robbery behind a fastfood joint on Benning Road in Northeast D.C.

Coates, who appeared in court this afternoon to be presented with the charge, shook his head from side to side through much of his brief appearance. He remarked, appearing astonished, “who?” when a government prosecutor told the court that Coates admitted to a witness that he killed Leonard.

According to charging documents in the case, Coates spoke with investigators twice about Leonard’s death. Once while riding to the Homicide Branch for an interview and again during that interview.

What he told investigators varied. In the car Coates said he and Leonard intended to purchase PCP the night Leonard was killed. The two drove together to Langston Terrace for that purpose. Once they got there Leonard wandered off on his own at which point he was shot, Coates told investigators. Coates said he heard a gunshot and “someone from the neighborhood came and told him [Leonard] had been shot,” according to the affidavit.

Later, Coates said he and Leonard had planned to rob the PCP dealer that night. As the three of them walked down the ally, Leonard pulled out a pistol and pointed it at the dealer, who then pulled his pistol and fired it at Leonard, striking him.

A witness to the case, however, told authorities that Leonard “doesn’t do robberies.” He said instead that Coates was “always robbing people.”

I don’t trust that dude because he’s cruddy,” the witness told police of Coates.

Another witness told police Coates admitted to it that he had killed Leonard. Another said Coates admitted to it that he was with Leonard when he was killed, but didn’t know what happened.

A preliminary hearing is set for the case for May 31. Coates is being held without bond until that date.

Charging documents are below.

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