Longview Fugitive On America's Most Wanted

Published: Mar. 22, 2006 at 10:26 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 23, 2006 at 12:42 PM CST
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The search for a Gregg County fugitive is getting national exposure. The fugitive vanished just days before facing charges in a deadly drunk driving accident. For the past 6 months, Gregg County District Attorney, Bill Jennings office has been aggressively seeking this  fugitive from justice, so much so that he authored a letter to "America's Most Wanted." 47 year old Jamie Lee Coker disappeared in September, a few days before he was expected to plead guilty to intoxication manslaughter.

"Jamie Coker ran from his sentence and that day awaits his, to get national exposure I think is a tool that will help us capture Jamie Coker," says Jennings.

In February 2005, Coker ran a red light, hit another vehicle head-on at highway 80 and Fisher road, killing 2 people and sending 4 to the hospital. His wife was among those killed. He was charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter, 3 counts of intoxication assault. Jail records show he had a history of public intoxication and drug possession, and had served time.

"Jamie Coker not only killed his wife he also killed and innocent person in a separate vehicle and injured 3 family members as well as the grandmother that was killed in this case," Jennings said.

Coker has been profiled on the America's Most Wanted website. His former attorney believes Coker might not be alive anymore.

"He was despondent and very depressed about going to prison, although he did tell me he would accept a deal and talked somewhat about suicide but promised he wouldn't do it. I doubt very much that he's the kind of man that would turn himself in, my speculation is that he did hide out a while , got despondent and took his own life," said Coker's former lawyer, Thad Davidson.

But law enforcement believes he is alive, and may be making visits back to East Texas with the help of friends.

"We have ever reason to believe he's still alive and still out there we get periodic reports of sightings we've developed information that's been followed up on," said Gregg County Sheriff, Maxey Cerliano.

Jennings hopes the national eye will end the search.

"Mr. Coker will have his day in court," said Jennings.

Coker was out of the Gregg County Jail on bond when he disappeared.

He faces a possible punishment of life in prison if and when he is taken into custody.

Bob Hallmark reporting.