EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Officials announced Monday a man was sentenced for his role in the murders of three individuals, one of whom was cooperating with a drug investigation, leading police to 15 other co-conspirators.
According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Kevin Coles, age 37, of New York and Maryland, was convicted as a result of a six-year investigation into the murders of three people on June 25, 2016.
Police say three people were killed on a property on Welsh Run Road in Mercersburg, Franklin County. Troopers say they found the bodies of Wendy Ann Chaney, 39, Hagerstown, MD, Brandon Cole, 47, Fayetteville, PA, and Phillip Matthew Jackson, 36, Mercersburg, PA, in a barn on victim Jackson’s property.
All of the victims were shot, three had their hands zipped tied behind their backs, and were set on fire, investigators stated. Evidence showed that Wendy Chaney was in a relationship with Kevin Coles, and she was a co-conspirator, assisting in their drug distribution operation.
Cole learned Chaney was cooperating with federal authorities and ordered for her to be murdered, police said. Cole then had his co-conspirators hire a Baltimore-based gang, known as the Black Guerilla Family, to travel and kill Chaney, according to court documents.
Investigators believe the gang killed Chaney to protect the drug trafficking activities of Coles and his co-conspirators, while Jackson and Cole were murdered to prevent them from being witnesses to the crimes of violence that were done at the Jackson property.
As stated in the release, the gang never found any money on the property but stole drugs and firearms.
U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam stated as a result of the investigation the following people were charged along with Cole:
- Devin Dickerson, 31, Hagerstown, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine
- Kenyatta Corbett, 38, Hagerstown, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and to being an accomplice to the use of a firearm during Hobbs Act robbery
- Michael Buck, 30, Hagerstown, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and to being an accomplice to the use of a firearm during Hobbs Act robbery
- Nicholas Preddy, 29, Baltimore, pleaded guilty to attempting to kill a witness
- Johnnie Jenkins-Armstrong, 22, Baltimore, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and to being an accomplice to the use of a firearm during Hobbs Act robbery
- Terrance Lawson, 31, Baltimore, sentenced to time served for attempting to intimidate a witness
- Tyrone Armstrong, 30, Baltimore, sentenced to time served for attempting to intimidate a witness
- Christopher Johnson, 31, Baltimore, pleaded guilty to multiple counts including murder for hire
- Mark Johnson, 35, Baltimore, pled guilty to obstructing the grand jury’s investigation and was sentenced to 110 months imprisonment
- Llesenia Woodard, 46, Hagerstown, pled guilty to providing false testimony to the grand jury investigating the murders
- Jerell Adgebesan, 35, of Maryland, pled guilty in June 2022 to Hobbs Act robbery and to being an accomplice to the use of a firearm during Hobbs Act robbery.
- Torey White, 32, Waynesboro, PA, was indicted on multiple counts including the murder of a witness, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, and firearms offenses.
- Yolanda Diaz, 31, Hagerstown, was indicted on multiple counts of perjury and obstruction of justice based on her testimony at the Coles trial.
- Joshua Davis, 30, pled guilty to participating in the conspiracy to locate and kill an individual believed to be cooperating with federal authorities in the investigation of the triple murders. Davis was sentenced to serve 100 months imprisonment.
Coles was tried by a jury in Harrisburg in April 2022 and convicted on all 16 counts of
the indictment, to include interstate travel to commit murder, murder of a witness, and drug
He has now been sentenced to three consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murders and additional consecutive terms of imprisonment amounting to 35 additional years for various firearms convictions.