Man sentenced in 2021 death of Clark County woman after earlier mistrial

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Prosecutor: “We got justice for Jacqueline Coles and her family.”

A man who had been charged with aggravated murder accepted a plea agreement Thursday and was sentenced to up to two decades in prison in connection to the 2021 death of a Park Layne woman.

Noel Coles Jr., 49, entered a guilty plea for charges of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated burglary in front of a crowded Clark County Common Pleas courtroom Thursday.

Jacqueline Coles was found dead on Aug. 24, 2021, in her Weinland Street house.

“This was a case based primarily on circumstantial evidence,” said Erica Lunderman, assistant prosecutor. “Based on looking at the evidence, I think we got the best result. We got justice for Jacqueline Coles and her family.”

Coles previously was charged with aggravated murder and other counts, but his charges were reduced and other counts dropped in a plea agreement.

Clark County Judge Douglas Rastatter sentenced Coles following his change in plea to a total of 15 to 20½ years in prison.

Coles had been scheduled for a jury trial for murder on Jan. 31. His original jury trial was declared a mistrial in December.

That trial was in its second day when new evidence was discovered that made proceeding with the trial unfair to both the defense and the state, Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll said then. The defense filed a motion for a mistrial, and prosecutors did not object, Driscoll said.

Credit: Hancock County, Indiana, Jail

Credit: Hancock County, Indiana, Jail

Belinda Morris, the only sister of Jacqueline, recounted the “nightmare” of her sister’s death on Thursday during her victim impact statement in court.

Morris said the four hours she drove to race to her sister’s house took years off her life. She said she’s haunted by the things she saw inside Jacqueline’s house.

Jacqueline Coles had been shot six times, once in each hand and four times in her torso, according to her autopsy.

“I was told she was shot. Nothing prepared me for what I saw once I entered the home,” she said.

The months that followed were filled with agony and loss, Morris said. The effect on Jacqueline Coles’ children was severe, as they lost friends, had to change schools, and had to cope with the loss of their mother.

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Morris said her and her sister’s father died months after Jacqueline was found dead, and Morris said she feels Noel Coles Jr. sent her father “to an early grave.”

She said she wished Noel Coles Jr. received a life sentence.

Moving forward, Morris said she wants to work in domestic violence survivor advocacy.

Jacqueline Coles filed a petition on Aug. 5, 2021, for an order of protection against her estranged boyfriend for herself and three children, court records state.

She stated in her protection order petition that Noel Coles Jr. had threatened to kill her “multiple times.” She cited an incident when he was at her residence “to talk” in her backyard and when he covered her mouth to muffle her screams. She said her teenage son walked outside and saw it happen.

Noel Coles Jr. told deputies on Aug. 24 that he was in the area of Weinland Street in the morning to watch his kids board the school bus. The following day, he was arrested in Hancock County, Indiana. Clark County Sheriff’s deputies returned Coles to Ohio.

Jacqueline Coles was the director of nursing at Laurelwood Assisted Living in Dayton.

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