Accused murderer pleads not guilty

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Coleman

SANDPOINT — A Washington state man accused of stabbing a cab driver to death in Bonner County pleaded not guilty on Monday.

Jacob Corban Coleman’s plea sets the stage for a jury trial in 1st District Court in February 2018. He remains held without bond at the Bonner County Jail.

Coleman is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the slaying of Gagandeep Singh on Aug. 28 outside a convenience store in Kootenai.

Coleman, a 20-year-old from Puyallup, is accused of hailing Singh’s cab at Spokane International Airport so he could be driven to Hope, ostensibly to visit a friend. Coleman allegedly confessed to sheriff’s investigators that he settled on a plan to murder Singh, 22, after considering whether to take his own life, according to court documents.

Coleman told detectives that he had Singh drive to Bonner County because it was sparsely populated.

Coleman had Singh stop at the Walmart store in Ponderay, where he purchased a titanium hunting knife, according to a store employee who testified at Coleman’s preliminary hearing. Singh drove Coleman to Clark Fork and then back to Kootenai.

Coleman, who was also suicidal, allegedly attacked Singh with the knife when Singh suggested Coleman’s family be notified that he was thinking of harming himself.

“I attacked him like a feral animal,” Det. Phil Stella quoted Coleman saying during the police interview.

Deputies found Singh’s minivan cab in Kootenai. A deputy testified that Coleman had a knife in his hand and Singh’s body was at his feet.

Coleman told investigators that he talked with Singh for an extended period after the stabbing, but did not render any aid or summon help for the mortally wounded man, according to court documents.

An autopsy report revealed that Singh had been stabbed as many as 27 times, according to preliminary hearing testimony.

Coleman flew from Seattle to Spokane intending to enroll at Gonzaga University, but school officials have said that they had no record of Coleman’s enrollment.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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