GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Even though it’s been five months since Benjamin Coates’ body was found in a car submerged beneath a bridge over Plaster Creek in Wyoming, his mom, Lynette Johnson, says the pain is just as sharp.
Johnson says Coates’ daughter, Malia Joy – who turns 3 in two weeks – doesn’t understand where her daddy is.
“She says, ‘Daddy’s at work,’” Johnson told 24 Hour News 8.
On Friday, police announced three people who have been in jail for months charged with perjury in connection to the case are now charged with Coates’ murder: Miqueenise Weed 31, her 28-year-old fiance, Marcus Terrell, and a friend, Corey Jones, 28.
Johnson says it’s all over something senseless.
“He didn’t harm you, he didn’t take anything from you, you did for a 5-minute high that you’re gonna never get again,” Johnson said.
Police say that after being presented with evidence, Weed confessed to a scheme to lure Coates to a home on Sheldon Avenue south of Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids under the guise of a drug deal.
Weed claims that her two male co-defendants beat and strangled Coates to death, drove his body to a car on Plaster Creek Boulevard between South Division and Buchanan avenues and left him strapped with a seat belt.
“You sat there and watched my son suffer, watch him take his last breath and you drive him to a remote destination like nothing’s wrong,” Johnson said.
Coates’ cousin, Kym Coates, says Benjamin Coates isn’t a bad person.
“He don’t have a beef with nobody,” she said.
Benjamin Coates had a record of minor drug convictions.
“Every bad decision he’s ever made, it’s never caused harm to anybody else, physically, mentally, none of that, he’s never harmed anybody else,” Kim Coates said.
Lynette Johnson said she was frustrated with how long it took to get an arrest in the case.
“The street code, snitches get stitches or you don’t tell what happened. What if it happened to you? Wouldn’t you want somebody to tell if it happened to your family member?” she said.