WINCHESTER — A Winchester grand jury on Tuesday indicted homicide suspect Joshua Clay Coffelt on a first-degree murder charge.
Coffelt is accused of shooting William Michael Harris on March 24 on the dance floor of Elks Lodge 458 on South Kent Street. Police and prosecutors haven’t given a motive for the killing. Virginia law doesn’t require them to provide a motive if the case goes to trial.
At a June 26 probable cause hearing, Latricka Harris said she was just a few feet away from her uncle when Coffelt shot him in the back and then shot him as he lay face down. Harris said she has known Coffelt all her life and identified him in court. She said Coffelt and her uncle spoke briefly in the bathroom of the club before Coffelt left. She said Coffelt returned about 10 minutes later and then pistol shots were fired.
Coffelt, 28, of the 200 block of Maple Street in Winchester, was also indicted on two counts each of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in a felony and single counts of discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
He appeared briefly in Winchester Circuit Court on Tuesday. His case was continued until 9 a.m. on July 26.
Heather Hovermale, Winchester deputy commonwealth’s attorney, told Judge Clifford L. Clay Athey Jr. that Coffelt’s attorneys are expected to ask that a private investigator be hired to gather evidence for them. The prosecution is expected to ask for a protection order limiting reproduction of evidence turned over by the prosecution to the defense in the discovery process.
Coffelt’s criminal record includes convictions for robbery, use of a firearm in a felony, brandishing a firearm and possession of drugs with intent to distribute.
The 38-year-old Harris was a city resident and father of five.