Man Accused of York Homicide to Appear in Court Tuesday is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

William E. Burks (Photo courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
William E. Burks (Photo courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

A 28-year-old Lackey man accused of shooting and killing a 24-year-old Lackey man will have his preliminary hearing Tuesday.

William E. Burks, last known to live in the 100 block of Spring Road in the Lackey are of York County, was arrested on June 24 and charged in connection to the same-day shooting death of Devon Coates at Coates’ residence in the Yorktown Square and Rivermeade apartments near Yorktown Middle School. He faces one charge of second-degree homicide, one count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and wearing body armor while committing crime.

A criminal complaint against Burks filed in York-Poquoson District Court said Coates was playing the video game “Call of Duty” with his wife, Holly Coates, and a friend when they heard the screen door of their apartment open with force. They paused the game, and Coates went downstairs to see who was at the door. Shortly thereafter, Coates’ wife and the friend heard Coates yelling for help from the friend.

The friend said he saw two black men standing in the doorway of the apartment. Coates was fighting one of them and trying to restrain him against the door. The friend said he then heard a pop and saw Coates fall to the ground in a fetal position. Coates, who was shot right below his heart, died shortly thereafter.

One of the two men was seen wearing a bullet-proof vest over a dark shirt.

A person told investigators that Coates had been selling marijuana up until a week before the shooting. That person said Coates stopped selling because he lost his job and needed to clean out to pass a drug test in case his next employer required him to take one. His wife told investigators that Coates had no known enemies or debts.

Investigators found a bullet-poof vest and a .380 handgun in a field near Coates’ building. They also found a .380 shell casing at the scene of the shooting. Despite the report of a second person, nobody else has been arrested in connection to the incident.

As the investigation progressed on June 24, Burks called the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office and said he wanted to come in and talk so that he could clear his name. The statements he offered were inconsistent with what investigators had learned from talking to other people. He admitted that he had been wearing a bullet-proof vest because he was afraid of being shot.

Investigators then confronted Burks about the inconsistencies in his story, and he invoked his right to remain silent. He was charged shortly thereafter.

Burks spent nine years in prison from a 2004 incident in York County that resulted in a slew of charges, including attempted malicious wounding, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and destruction of private property.

The hearing starts at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in York-Poquoson District Court.

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