Man charged with murder of wife in 2002 cold case

Stanley Coring Jr.
Stanley Coring Jr. (HCSO)

HOUSTON – The body of Debra Covalt was found inside a dilapidated horse barn on her property at 8316 Sjolander Road in far east Harris County on Monday, May 6, 2002, at approximately 5 p.m.

Police said she had been shot three times.

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

During the initial investigation, police learned that Covalt and Coring had been at the Baytown Fairgrounds for a cook-off event on the afternoon of Saturday, May 4, 2002.

Witnesses reported the two fighting, and saw them drive away together in Coring’s truck.

Police said they had driven toward their home, which was about 2 miles away from the cook-off.

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.

The following morning, Coring left town.

He returned home on the afternoon of May 6, 2002, and reported finding Covalt dead in a barn located on his property.

Investigators interviewed Coring, but at the time he denied killing his wife.

A weapon was found in the possession of Coring that matched evidence at the crime scene.

The weapon was determined to be one that was used to kill Covalt.

The case eventually went unsolved and became a cold case.

In late 2013, the Harris County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit began follow-up investigation into the murder of Covalt.

Original witnesses were interviewed, and new witnesses were located and interviewed.

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 Dec. 21, 2016.

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 Thursday morning.

He will face extradition back to Harris County.