Woman found guilty of helping her mother murder Henrico teen

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RICHMOND, Va. – For the second time in over a month, a Henrico jury has found someone guilty in the 2017 murder of 19-year-old Martre Lamonte Coles.

LaToya Shantice Gay, 23, was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in connection to the March 2017 killing.

Last month, Gay’s mother, Denise, was also found guilty of first-degree murder.

Coles, a Highland Springs High School graduate, was found April 2, 2017 in a plastic storage container stashed behind an electrical box in eastern Henrico. Coles’ murder was believed to have happened on March 12.

Martre Lamonte Coles, Denise Monique Gay and Latoya Shantice Gay

Prosecutors say Denise Gay led a calculated plot to kill Coles, her boyfriend’s son, with the help of her daughter LaToya. Prosecutors said for months prior to Coles’ death, Denise Gay searched online for terms: “find something that works like chloroform” and “how long it takes to suffocate someone with duct tape.”

A medical examiner testified that Coles was found with Trazodone, a sedative and antidepressant most commonly used to treat depression. His cause of death was reported as asphyxiation.

During Denise’s trial, Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor suggested the theory that Gay and her daughter may have killed Coles in order to get closer to his father.

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