Coston's Taped Confession Details Killings ; Jessi Evans Witnessed Boyfriend's Shooting

By Wells, Len | Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current), September 13, 2012 | Go to article overview

Coston's Taped Confession Details Killings ; Jessi Evans Witnessed Boyfriend's Shooting


Wells, Len, Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


Danny Coston told investigators in a videotaped confession that after he shot and killed her boyfriend, he and Jessi Evans, 17, had sex on the tailgate of a truck. Then, he told officers, he shot and killed her, too. Details of the Aug. 25 slayings of Evans of Norris City, Ill., and Jacob Wheeler, 22, of Centerville, Ill., emerged Wednesday during a preliminary hearing for Coston in White County Circuit Court.

Coston, 36, of Centerville, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault while armed with a firearm, aggravated battery through the discharge of a firearm and concealing a homicide.

At the conclusion of Wednesday's hearing, Resident Judge Thomas Sutton ruled probable cause existed to hold Coston for trial and set arraignment for Sept. 19 in White County Circuit Court. He remains in the White County Jail at Carmi, Ill., with bail set at $3 million.

During Wednesday's hearing, White County Sheriff Doug Maier recounted details from Coston's confession videotaped during an interview with him and Illinois State Police Detective Richard D. White after Wheeler's body was found in a remote area of southeastern Wayne County.

Maier testified that Coston, on the videotape, said he drove up on Wheeler and Evans at a campsite near the Little Wabash River northeast of Centerville. The sheriff said Coston told interviewers that he asked Wheeler if he would help him disconnect a boat trailer from his pickup truck, because he had gotten "hung up."

Wheeler, Maier testified, declined to help Coston, but offered to give him a ride home. Coston told the officers he climbed into the bed of Wheeler's truck for the ride home.

About halfway there, Maier said, Coston got Wheeler's attention and asked him to pull over. It was then, Maier said, that Coston jumped out of the bed of the truck, walked around to the driver's side door and shot Wheeler in the side of the head. …

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