POSTED: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 1:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 5:40pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a man last night for the July 5 murder of a man at an apartment complex located on Perkins Road.
Joshua Jermaine Thomas, 25, is charged with Second-Degree Murder and Attempted Simple Burglary. He is accused of shooting John Coates, 25.
Detectives responded to the shooting at 5:30 a.m. and located the victim shot multiple times in the parking lot of the apartment complex. Witnesses said a black male subject wearing a white T-shirt was seen fleeing from the area shortly after shots were fired. Witnesses stated they saw the suspect attempting to pry open the victim’s glass patio doors minutes before the shooting.
Detectives located the pry bar on scene and collected DNA for submission at the LSP Crime Lab. The DNA collected was a match for Thomas, the ex-boyfriend of Coates’ girlfriend at the time of his death. Thomas and Coates’ girlfriend also have a child together.
Detectives picked Thomas up for questioning on Wednesday, July 24. He initially stated he had never been to the apartment complex where Coates and his girlfriend lived, and that he never had a pry bar. However, he later admitted to purchasing the pry bar and stated he used it to attempt to burglarize his son’s mother’s vehicle in order to look for narcotics. He said he fled from the area after spotting a police vehicle in the parking lot. He also admitted he had an ongoing feud with Coates for the past three years. He denied involvement in the murder.
Thomas was booked into EBR Parish Prison on the above listed charges.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office has investigated 8 homicides in 2013. With this arrest, there is only one case that remains open. That open investigation happened on Sunday, July 13 at the Jefferson Lake Apartment. Ellis Banks, 41, was found with a fatal gunshot wound .