Prosecutors file formal murder charge in August nightclub shooting


A first degree murder charge was filed Tuesday in Miller County, Ark., for a Texarkana, Texas, man who previously served time in prison for shooting at the man he is now accused of killing.

LaJason Jaquize Coakley, 23, is scheduled to appear in court later this month for arraignment on a first degree murder charge in the death of Montel Waller, a 25-year-old Texarkana, Ark., man who was shot Aug. 20 at the Paradise Club. Waller was hospitalized for more than three weeks before he died September 12 of complications related to the gunshot wound, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Coakley was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014 as part of a plea bargain connected to a June 19, 2013, shooting. Coakley fired an assault rifle at a group of people, including Waller, in an act witnesses claimed was related to a Texas-Arkansas rivalry. Waller is from Texarkana, Texas. Coakley is from Texarkana, Ark.

Waller was expected to testify at Coakley’s trial in 2014. However Coakley entered a plea bargain and was sentenced to 10 years for two counts of terroristic acts in June 2014, court records state. He received credit toward his prison sentence for about a year he spent in the county jail.

He was paroled Aug. 27, 2015, from the Arkansas Department of Correction, just a little more than a year after he was sentenced to prison for shooting at Waller and others. Coakley is accused of shooting Waller, who was reportedly attempting to break up a confrontation between Coakley and another man, once in the chest.

Coakley is currently in jail. He is scheduled to appear Nov. 15 before a judge in Miller County for arraignment. If convicted of first degree murder, he faces ten to 40 years or life in prison.

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