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A 12-member Linn County Circuit Court jury on Wednesday found a Lebanon man guilty of first-degree robbery and other crimes.

David Russell Coats, 37, swung an ax handle at his ex-girlfriend as he was stealing her car in Lebanon on June 24.

He also was convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle, two counts of felony fourth-degree assault, and in a connected case that was part of the trial, two counts of tampering with a witness.

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday morning.

Coats’ trial was set to last two days, but it finished earlier than scheduled.

During opening arguments, prosecutor Coleen Cerda told the jury that the case concerns domestic violence. “Ultimately, it is about power and control,” she said.

Coats went to his ex-girlfriend’s house late the night of June 24 to get a game console for their son. They began to argue, and he hit her several times, Cerda said.

Three other people were inside the house, including a child who woke up and observed the assault, she added.

Coats then ran out of the house and the victim pursued him. Cerda said that Coats swung the ax handle at the woman to prevent her from stopping him as he stole her car.

Defense attorney Michael Lowry declined comment after the trial.

The Lebanon Police Department investigated the robbery case.

The tampering with a witness charges stem from events on Dec. 5 and Dec. 8, while Coats was in custody in the Linn County Jail.

Coats has seven other open cases progressing through the Linn County courts. He’s charged with: second-degree sex abuse and third-degree sex abuse; second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon; tampering with a witness; felony attempt to elude, misdemeanor attempt to elude and first-degree criminal mischief; driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and failure to appear; two counts of refusal to take a test for intoxicants; driving while suspended or revoked, failure to obey a traffic control device and driving uninsured.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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