Robert Coleman — black, age 33 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)
Sentenced to death in Caddo Parish, Louisiana
By: a jury
Date of crime: January 1, 2003
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Coleman and his girlfriend, Brandy Holmes, were found guilty of shooting and stabbing Julian Brandon, Jr. (age 70) to death during a home invasion. His wife, Alice Brandon (age 68) was also shot in the head and lay incapacitated and severely wounded in her bedroom for five days before the police found her. She died in 2008. Coleman was also convicted of burglarizing the home after the attacks. Coleman was sentenced to death in 2005, but the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2007. Defense attorneys argued Coleman’s IQ was 75, making him mentally retarded and that his life should have been spared as a result. Coleman’s first death sentence was reversed because a black prospective juror was improperly excluded on the basis of race.
Sources: Hattiesburg American (MS) 12/2/008 (2008 WLNR 27188376), 10/5/09 AP Online 14:31:29, KTBS – TV 2/8/12 AP Alert – LA 00:05:19.
Robert McCoy — black, age 34
Sentenced to death in Bossier Parish, Louisiana
By: a jury
Date of crime: May 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: McCoy went on a rampage in an attempt to find his estranged wife, killing her parents, Christine Colston and Gregory Colston, and her son, Willie Young (age 17). McCoy claimed he was innocent and the charges were part of a conspiracy by the Bossier City police and the sheriff’s and district attorney’s officers. However, a 911 call made by Christine Colston recorded McCoy asking where his wife was and she saying that she wasn’t there before hearing gunshots. Defense attorneys also claimed he was insane, citing an instance where he had tried to commit suicide by chewing his arm off while incarcerated.
Sources: The Shreveport Time (LA) 6/17/08 AP Alert – LA 15:44:48, Bossier Press-Tribune (LA) 12/8/11 (2011 WLNR 25670189), Bossier Press-Tribune (LA) 1/24/12 (2012 WLNR 1637377).