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Charges reduced in Davenport fatal shooting case

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

"AJ" Albert Coats is in Custody at the Rock Island County Jail

Prosecutors say evidence in the death of Amanda Abbott does not support a charge of second-degree murder and the charge is being reduced to involuntary manslaughter.

Police said Abbott’s body was found after 1 a.m. Saturday, June 22, 2013 in a chair inside a duplex on West First Street in Davenport, Iowa.   She had been fatally shot.  She was 25.

Later that morning, investigators found 22-year-old A.J. Coats at a trailer park in Milan, Illinois.  After he initially refused to come out, Coats eventually surrendered to police, and he was charged with second-degree murder.

Friends contended the shooting was an accident, and that Abbott and Coats were friends.  One woman said Coats was trying to get a stuck bullet out of the chamber of the gun when it accidentally went off.

Scott County Attorney Michael Walton said that, based on accounts from several eyewitnesses, the evidence in the case does not support a charge of second-degree murder.

“Based on those accounts there is an absence of evidence that Coats acted premeditatedly, with specific intent to kill, or with malice aforethought required to support a murder charge,” Walton said in a statement issued Friday, July 19, 2013.

Walton said Coats has, instead, been indicted for felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and misdemeanor third-degree burglary.

Coats remained in the Scott County Jail in lieu of $500,000 cash-only bond.