Friday, Dec 6, 2013
Coston Sentenced for Brutal Double Murder
WHITE COUNTY -- The man convicted of the brutal murders of a young couple in White County will spend more than 50 years in prison.
Danny Coston was given that sentence during a court hearing in Carmi on Tuesday. The 37-year-old was found guilty of murder and criminal sexual assault in a bench trial last month. He's convicted of killing 17-year-old Jessie Evans and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Jacob Wheeler last August.
The 53-year sentence was part of an agreement the victim's families wanted to help bring this case to a close.
During the hearing, the judge made it very clear that he believed Coston deserved even more time in prison and called his crime the execution of two innocent people.
The courtroom was crowded with the families and friends of Coston's victims.
"I think that's a pretty good illustration of how much these two young people were loved and how much this has effected everyone involved," said White County State's Attorney Denton Aud.
Part of Coston's sentence requires that he serve at least 50 years before he'll be eligible for parole. Coston also gave up most of his ability to appeal the case.
"The chances of him walking out of there alive are very, very slim," said Aud.
In the hearing, testimony from Jessie's mother and others was read aloud. Judge Thomas Foster then officially handed down the sentence.
Coston showed no emotion during the hearing. When Foster asked him if he had anything to say in his defense, he chose not to speak.
The case spans back to August 2012, when the couple went camping near the Little Wabash River. Coston shot Jacob, a young army veteran. He then sexually assaulted and killed Jessie. Coston left their bodies in two different locations.
Aud says all the evidence pointed to one man.
"It was overwhelming as far as tying Danny Coston to these horrific crimes," said Aud.
The past year has been tough for those close to the two victims, like Jacob's father, Harold Wheeler.
"A lot of work trying to get to this day," said Wheeler.
Wheeler calls the sentence a little bit of closure.
"I just hope everyone remembers these kids like they was," said Wheeler. "Full of life and fun."
Coston's girlfriend, Candice Brown, is also connected to the case. She is scheduled to back in court in January. Brown is charged with obstruction of justice and is accused of lying to police.
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