A Sequatchie County, Tennessee, man charged in a fatal September 2018 shooting has been indicted by a grand jury and could enter a plea Wednesday.
Paul D. Coffman Jr., 21, was charged with criminal homicide in the death of Logan Lepard, also 21, on Sept. 8. The case was bound over to the Sequatchie County grand jury after a preliminary hearing Dec. 12. According to the true bill handed up by the grand jury Jan. 28, Coffman now faces a charge of first-degree murder.
On Wednesday, the court will take Coffman's official plea and could assign a tentative trial date, 12th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Steve Strain said Tuesday.
Coffman is represented by one of the district's public defenders, Vanessa King, according to officials in 12th Judicial District Public Defender Jeff Harmon's office. King was in court Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
Strain in December described the preliminary hearing testimony from the state's sole witness, Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office detective Jody Lockhart.
Lockhart testified at the hearing that Coffman was still at the home on Henson Gap Road when the first officers arrived. Lepard had already been taken to the hospital when Lockhart got to the scene. Lockhart testified that Coffman helped officers find the gun he is said to have used — a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun — Strain said in December.
Lepard and an acquaintance went to the back door of Coffman's house and Coffman told them, "I don't do business at the back door, go around front." Lepard and the other person walked around to the front side of the house and then continued out to Henson Gap Road when Coffman came out of the home.
Lockhart testified that Coffman went to the front porch and started shooting at Lepard, who was at least 150 feet away. Coffman fired several times, striking Lepard once in the chest. The bullet passed all the way through the Lepard's body, so it was never recovered, but several shell casings were recovered by investigators at the scene, Strain said of hearing testimony.
The two men had been "having a beef" on Facebook, but "the nature of the 'beef'" was never clarified in testimony, Strain said.
Coffman, meanwhile, remains at the Sequatchie County Justice Center on $75,000 bond.
Attempts to reach family members Tuesday were unsuccessful.
According to his obituary, Lepard left behind a son, wife, parents and sister. In the condolences on Reed Family Funeral Home's website, Lepard's former sixth-grade language arts teacher at Rossville Middle School described him as "sweet, charming and very funny," and noted that when he moved away at the end of that school year, "we all cried."
The teacher wrote "he had a lot to offer this world and I'm sad to know that he left it too soon."
Wednesday's hearing will take place in Sequatchie County Criminal Court before Judge J. Curtis Smith.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.