Affidavit: Tyler County man died of gunshot wounds to chest, hea - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas


Affidavit: Tyler County man died of gunshot wounds to chest, head before fire

Bruce Chance (Source: Tyler County Jail) Bruce Chance (Source: Tyler County Jail)
Angela Coats (Tyler County Jail) Angela Coats (Tyler County Jail)
Joe Kelvin Brown (Source: Facebook) Joe Kelvin Brown (Source: Facebook)
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff

An arrest affidavit for one of the two suspects in the death of a man found dead in the rubble of a Tyler County house fire on March 5 sheds new light on what happened.

The affidavit the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office released Friday afternoon identified the victim as Joe Kelvin Brown and stated that he was shot in the chest and head before the fire started. 

An obituary for Brown appeared on the Stringer & Griffin Funeral Home web page said he was 51, and he had a Woodville address.

Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office arrested Angela Coats, 47, of Bridge City, on a murder warrant on March 9 in connection to Brown’s murder. Bruce Lee Chance, 37, of Orange, was arrested on March 8 on a capital murder charge in connection the same investigation.

Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker set Chance's bail amount at $250,000 Thursday. Coats’ bail amount was also set at $250,000, and both of them are still being held in the Tyler County Jail.

Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said the homicide investigation started on March 5.

According to the murder arrest warrant for Chance, TCSO deputies responded to a structure fire at 334 County Road 4180 at about 5:34 p.m. after human remains were found at the scene. 

During the investigation, a neighbor reported seeing a dark-colored SUV parked next to the residence, the affidavit stated. The witness also allegedly saw a dark-haired woman leave the home, get into the SUV, and leave toward the highway.

“The neighbor also stated he observed a male in a brown hoodie leave the residence on foot in the same direction in which the vehicle left just as the neighbor observed a fire in the residence,” the affidavit stated.

Coats went to the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office on March 6 and told deputies that she had witnessed a murder, the affidavit stated. She allegedly told authorities that Brown had been stalking her, and identified Chance, her boyfriend, as the one who shot Brown and set the house on fire.

The affidavit stated Coats told TCSO deputies that she drove Chance to Brown’s home with the intent to “get closure with Brown.”

Coats allegedly said Chance asked Brown, “Are you ready for your closure?” She said after Brown said he was, Chance pulled out a handgun and shot Brown in the chest, the affidavit stated. After Brown fell to the ground, Chance fired again, striking Brown in the head.

Chance then told Coats to go back to the vehicle, which is when the neighbor saw a dark-haired woman leave the home and get into a dark-colored SUV, the affidavit stated. Coats told authorities that she drives a black Jeep, the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit, Coats told authorities that Chance left the house on foot and started walking down the road. At that time, Chance was allegedly wearing a camouflage jacket with a hood.

The preliminary autopsy report indicates that Brown was “shot in the head with a medium-caliber firearm and has injuries consistent with a gunshot wound through the left rib cage,” the affidavit stated.

In addition, the autopsy report shows there was no soot present in Brown’s airway, which indicates Brown was dead before the fire occurred.
After TCSO deputies arrested Chance, he confessed to being at Brown’s house, but he claimed Coats is the one who pulled the gun and shot Brown, the affidavit stated.

Chance has a prior criminal history and was last released from prison in 2012.

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