In February 2022, Yolanda Coale, beat her 4-year-old nephew, King Lyons, to death, and blamed his 9-year-old sister. She has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Coale had custody of the children since January 2021. It is unclear why the children were not with their biological parents, or where the biological parents are now. Coale is King’s aunt.
According to news outlets, Coale was arrested in 2005 for giving alcohol to a minor. In 2011, she was arrested for “child restraint.”
The 911 Call
On the morning of February 3, 2022, Cole called the police stating she woke up and found King unresponsive. When the police arrived, they found King on his back with a pink towel on his face. King had bruises under his eyes, cuts on his nose and lips. King’s knee was swollen and the other one had bruising to it. Officers stated in court King was “cold to touch.”
When investigators interviewed Coale, she told them she woke up around midnight to the sounds of someone being hit and yelling around midnight. When she went to investigate, she saw her 9-year-old niece beating her 4-year-old nephew with a broomstick.
Officers spoke to the 9-year-old, who they will not identify due to age, and found that she and King shared a room. She told officers that King was “fibbing with himself” and if he didn’t stop, she would hit him with a broomstick. King did not stop, and the 9-year-old hit him about 10 times until the broomstick broke. Around this time is when Coale woke up. Coale told the 9-year-old to put the broomstick in the garbage outside and to go to sleep.
Abuse King Lyons Endured
Investigators disclosed King had multiple injuries that suggested the abuse he endured was long term. There were old scars on his buttocks and lower back.
Police discovered that Cole’s 6-year-old granddaughter was in the house at the time King was killed but never left her room. Upon talking to the 6-year-old, she revealed Coale had a specific room she called the “lock-up room”; Coale would put the children who did not behave in the room.
According to news outlets, a child from the neighborhood told police that Coale would whip King while he was naked with a “diamond-studded belt.” Another child told officers that King would have to drink out of the toilet because Coale would deny him water.
When police searched the house, they found the two pieces of a broomstick, a power cord, and multiple belts.
Coale’s granddaughter has been placed in the custody of family members.
The 9-year-old has been charged with assault and is being held in a psychiatric hospital.
Coale was charged with aggravated child abuse given $150,000 bail. Coale paid bail on February 12, 2022. She is awaiting court proceedings.
Charges are Upgraded
During interviews with King’s 9-year-old sister, she admitted she did not harm her brother. She told investigators it was her aunt who murdered her brother. The charges filed against her were dropped.
Coales charges were updated to murder. She originally plead not guilty and she was set to go to trial. The day before her trial, she entered an Alford plea, accepting a charge of manslaughter. Coale faces 2 to 20 years in prison. A judge set her sentencing hearing for February 15, 2025.
Coale is out on bail until her sentencing date.