On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, the Clayton County District Attorney presented an indictment composed of more than 50 counts against 11 members of a Dekalb County gang to a Clayton County Grand Jury in the murder case of 11-year-old Tatiyana Coates and 15-year-old Daveon Coates. Daveon and Tatiyana Coates were innocent victims of a home invasion that led to them being fatally shot as they slept in bed at their home on Libby Lane in Jonesboro on October 22, 2016.
With passionate effort, Clayton County Police Department detectives investigated hundreds of leads in the case with the assistance of numerous internal and external partners. Collaborations with agencies such as the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, GBI, FBI Safe Streets Taskforce, US Marshal’s Office, DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb County SWAT Team, Chattanooga Police Department, and the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office have been vital in bringing those responsible to justice.
After almost one and a half years of active investigation and more than 50 interviews of suspects and witnesses, the following persons have been identified as playing a key criminal role in the home invasion that resulted in the murder of Tatiyana and Daveon Coates:
- Devin Dunson (27 y/o)
- Melvin Allen Crockett (34 y/o)
- Jamar Reshaad Mitchell (24 y/o)
- Michael De’Sean White (26 y/o)
- Christopher Leonard Spencer (28 y/o)
- Vernon Jerome Beamon (29 y/o)
- Sterlin Obche Pate (23 y/o)
- Jamon Marquice Bynum (27 y/o)
- Sherman Thomas (24 y/o)
- Deundre Demond Mitchell (18 y/o)
The indictment consists of the following charges:
- Malice Murder
- Felony Murder
- Aggravated Assault
- Cruelty to Children (1stDegree)
- Cruelty to Children (3rdDegree)
- Home Invasion
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
- Violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act
- Violation of Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act
It has since been determined that the home invasion and shootings were committed in retaliation for a theft of firearms that had been committed by a 15-year-old juvenile who was the intended target. The 15-year-old juvenile is the eldest son of a friend of the Coates children’s mother who had been allowed to move into the family’s home two weeks prior to the incident. Just one day after relocating with his family, the 15-year-old left the Libby Lane residence to stay with fellow members of a gang that he is associated with in DeKalb County. While in DeKalb County, the teen stole firearms from a gang member and shortly thereafter, garnered the resources to transport himself back to Chattanooga, Tennessee where he remained. The 15-year-old (Deundre Mitchell) is now 18 years old and is also being charged with Murder in connection to this incident.
In the days surrounding the murders at Libby Lane, numerous additional crimes were committed by several of the abovementioned suspects. One or more of the suspects have been linked to three additional murders in neighboring counties and a drive-by shooting that occurred in Chattanooga, Tennessee one day (Oct.23) after the Libby Lane murders. A gun that was accidentally dropped from the vehicle that was used in the drive-by shooting in Tennessee was recovered and ballistics testing revealed it to be one of the murder weapons used against the Coates children.
While this case is complex in nature, the Clayton County Police Department is confident that the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute this case to the best of their ability and will be victorious in achieving convictions.