Homicide suspects have troubled history
SANFORD J. SCHMIDT The Telegraph
ALTON — A man accused Friday of killing and dismembering his girlfriend has a history of violent crimes and other legal problems, some of them involving the victim, dating to 2006.
Patrick A. Chase, 28, of the 2500 block of College Avenue, Alton, was charged in October 2006 with felony aggravated battery, accused of fracturing another man’s skull by striking the victim with a tire iron.
He later pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to 30 months’ probation and a $1,000 fine. He was discharged from probation on that charge in 2010.
The victim, Courtney C. Coats, 31, was charged Nov. 13, 2012, with misdemeanor domestic battery for allegedly punching and kicking Chase in the chest and legs at their home in the 2500 block of College Avenue.
She was ordered to enter a court diversion program and undergo domestic violence and anger management classes. Wellspring Services in Alton verified that she had been attending an anger management group program as of July 2; however, she was still under court supervision and had missed a court date on Dec. 3 court date. Police indicate she may have been dead since she was reported missing on Nov. 25.
Coats also pursued a misdemeanor criminal damage to property complaint against Chase while they were living at the College Avenue residence.
She charged on Nov. 19, 2012, that he damaged her flat-screen television by tossing it off a second-story deck. Chase pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $300 restitution. He was placed on supervision for six months as of March 28.
Chase was charged with misdemeanor battery on Feb. 13 for allegedly grabbing another man by the neck at D.J.’s Tavern in Alton and pushing the victim to the floor.
Coats put up his $300 bail on that charge. He was fined $300 on that charge and forfeited that amount for his fine.
Chase was also charged in 2008 with obstructing a police officer. He was accused of running away from a police officer during an arrest. He pleaded guilty to that charge and was fined $100.
In addition to the misdemeanor convictions, Chase also has numerous convictions on traffic violations.
He was charged Friday with first-degree murder, dismemberment of a human body and concealment of a homicidal death in Coats’ death.
Another man charged in the case, Brandon Le Chittum, 30, of Collinsville, was charged July 16, 2012, with felony disorderly conduct. The charge alleges he called 911 and falsely reported a group of Hell’s Angels were threatening him by firing shots at him at the time the call was made. That charge is still pending.
The suspects were charged Friday after Coats’ body was found near the Joe Page Bridge, in east Hardin in Greene County. They are each being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
The murder charges are two versions of the same acts. They both claim the suspects strangled and slit the victim’s throat. Alton Police Lt. Scott Golike said police believe she was killed on the same day she went missing.
The dismembering charge claims they severed the victim’s arms, legs and head. The concealment charge claims they concealed her body in the trunk of a vehicle.
Golike said police believe the murder occurred in the College Avenue residence on the day Coats went missing.
State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said it appears they used that vehicle to take the body to the spot where it was found Friday.
Golike said any time a person is found missing, police treat the case as a potential crime, but there were certain unspecified circumstances that made officers suspicious from the start. Each day that goes by tends to increase the suspicion that a crime was committed, Golike said.
He said Friday there was a history of domestic violence between Coats and Chase.
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