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A Lebanon man was sentenced in Linn County Circuit Court on Friday morning to 15 years in prison for crimes including a robbery where he swung an ax handle at his ex-girlfriend as he was stealing her car.

David Russell Coats, 37, was found guilty by a 12-member jury on Wednesday of first-degree robbery, unauthorized use of a vehicle, two counts of felony fourth-degree assault, and in a connected case, two counts of tampering with a witness.

“When I look at the conduct just covered in this (robbery) case, Mr. Coats is dangerous to people,” said Judge Thomas McHill.

McHill said he viewed the tampering with a witness case very seriously, as those crimes are intended to hamper the entire justice system.

The robbery occurred on June 24 and was investigated by the Lebanon Police Department. Coats went to his ex-girlfriend’s house late that night to get a game console for their son. They began to argue, and he hit her several times, according to the prosecution.

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

Coats then ran out of the house and the victim pursued him. He swung the ax handle to prevent her from stopping him as he stole her car, according to the prosecution.

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 could face even more prison time, as he has seven open cases in the Linn County courts system. On Friday, two of those cases were scheduled for trial this summer.

A one-day trial was scheduled on July 31 in a case where Coats is accused of second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. The charges stem from an incident on Oct. 10 where Coats allegedly hit another man in the head with bolt cutters, and the accuser needed to be hospitalized, according to previous courtroom statements.

Coats also is scheduled for a one-day trial on Aug. 6 on charges of second-degree sex abuse and third-degree sex abuse. Those crimes allegedly occurred in November.

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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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