Harris County man arrested in 2002 death of his common-law wife

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Investigators have charged and arrested a man in the death of his common-law wife more than a decade ago, authorities said.

Investigators said the body of Debra Covalt was found inside a dilapidated horse barn on her property at 8316 Sjolander Road in May 6, 2002. Police later determined that she had been shot three times.

Ms. Covalt’s body was found by her common-law husband, Stanley Coring Jr.

During the initial investigation, it was learned that Covalt and Coring had been at the Baytown Fairgrounds for a cook-off event two days before.

Witnesses reported the two fighting and observed them drive off together in Coring’s truck. It was reported that they drove in the direction of their home located a couple miles away from the event.

Soon after leaving the fairgrounds with Covalt, Coring began reporting to numerous people that Covalt was missing and he had not seen her since being at the cook-off with her. Investigators said the following morning Coring left tow n.

He returned home on the afternoon of May 6 and reported finding Covalt dead in a barn located on his property, police said.

Investigators interviewed Coring, but he denied killing his wife. A weapon was found in the possession of Coring that matched evidence at the crime scene, investigators said.

The weapon was determined to be one that was used to kill Covalt, police said.The case eventually went unsolved and became a cold case, investigators said.

In late 2013, the HCSO Cold Case Unit began follow-up investigation into the murder of Debra Covalt. Investigators said original witnesses were interviewed and new witnesses were located and interviewed.

Police said incriminating information was learned and developed in regards to the actions of Coring prior to, during and after the murder of Covalt.

In 2015, cold case investigators traveled to Pearl, Mississippi and conducted another interview with Coring. Coring provided a statement that contradicted many key points he had made to investigators during his original statement.

Coring provided details that were not supported by facts or evidence from the scene or witness accounts.

The findings and facts of this case were presented to a Harris County Grand Jury on December 21.

The grand jury returned an indictment against Coring for the murder of Covalt.

Coring was arrested by the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office after turning himself in at the Rankin County Jail in Brandon, Mississippi on the morning of January 5, 2017. He will face extradition back to Harris County.