Man charged in 2002 murder of his common-law wife

- Stanley Coring Jr., charged in the 2002 Houston murder of his common-law wife Debra Covalt, turned himself in to authorities Thursday morning.

Facts and findings gathered by HCSO cold case investigators were present to a grand jury on December 21, 2016, and the grand jury returned an indictment. Coring turned himself at the Rankin County Jail in Brandon, Mississippi and will face extradition back to Harris County.

On May 6, 2002, Stanely Coring Jr. discovered the body of Debra Covalt inside a dilapidated horse barn on her property in far east Harris County. Authorities determined she had been shot three times.

Investigators learned that Covalt and Coring attended a cook-off event on May 4, 2002, and witnesses reported seeing the two fighting. Witnesses observed Covalt and Coring driving off together in the direction of their home located approximately 2 miles away.

After leaving the fairgrounds, Coring told numerous people that Covalt was missing and he had not seen her since the cook-off. Coring left town the following morning. He returned May 6 and reported finding Covalt's body. Covalt denied killing his wife when interviewed by investigators. Investigators found a weapon in Coring's possession that was later determined to be the one used to kill Covalt.

The case eventually went unsolved and became a cold case, until HCSO Cold Case Unit began a follow-up investigation in late 2013. New information was gathered from original and new witnesses in regards to the actions of Coring prior to, during, and after Covalt's murder.

In 2015, cold case investigators interviewed Coring in Pearl, Mississippi. Investigators say during the interview Coring provided a statement that contradicted key points of his original statement, and he provided details that were not supported by facts or evidence gathered in the investigation.

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