Tuesday, 02 June 2020 13:08

Richmond County Sheriff's Office files murder charge after man found dead in home

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ROCKINGHAM — A man wanted for absconding probation is now charged with murder.

Kenneth Franklin Battley, 57, of Broadway Street, was booked into the Richmond County jail around 3:10 a.m. Tuesday on an open count of murder and a probation violation.

On Sunday, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home on Broadway Street in the Jefferson Park area for a welfare check, according to a press release.

When deputies were not able to make contact with anyone inside, the release states that they forced entry into the home where they found  of 62-year-old Donald Wayne Coates, who lived at the home deceased.

Coates’ body was taken to the N.C. Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Raleigh for an exact cause of death, according to the release.

Investigators took over the case and charged Battley early Tuesday.

Battley is being held without bond on the murder charge and a $10,000 secured bond on the probation violation.

State records list his middle name as both “Franklin” and “Frank.”

The N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction lists Battley as a probation absconder.

He was convicted in Scotland County in April of 2019 of a level 4 DWI and given a 12-month suspended sentence.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.