FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A man accused of murdering a Fort Wayne businesses owner made his first appearance in court Thursday morning.
Jamel Coleman is accused of murdering Antonio Lopez Nino, 44, the owner of the Smoke House Tobacco Outlet on Lafayette Street, on April 7. A preliminary plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf on Thursday. His next court date was scheduled for Thursday, May 8.
A customer saw Nino’s body on the floor of the business through a window on the morning of April 7 and called police. Officers found him lying in a pool of blood with his hands duct taped behind his back.
Police initially reported that Nino was in critical condition but announced he had died before the day was over. His death was the third homicide in Allen County in 2014. By this time in 2013, there had been 15 homicides.
According to the affidavit for probable cause, Coleman’s wife got a call from him two days after Nino’s death. She told police she tried to convince to him to turn himself in but he hung up on her. She told police he planned to leave town and go to Indianapolis.
About a week later, she later told police she saw him take all his clothes, put them in a box and get rid of them. She said some of the clothes he was wearing, black jeans and black shoes, were actually hers. She told police she was too scared to tell them earlier. She also said saw him with a gun but didn’t see any blood.
Coleman was arrested about a week after the murder, when police got a tip that he was on a bus going from Muncie to Indianapolis.
According to court documents NewsChannel 15 previously received, Coleman admitted he had been smoking marijuana and synthetic marijuana commonly known as “Spice” and he had just wanted what was in Nino’s wallet, not anything from the store. During questioning Coleman told police he used the gun to scare Nino and when Nino tried to get the gun from him the two struggled. Coleman was able to get Nino on the floor where he then tied up his hands with duct tape. Coleman told police he used Nino’s gun in the killing because the gun he had wouldn’t fire.
He then fled with Nino’s wallet, which contained $100 to $200 in it, along with the two guns and threw them in the river by the Old Fort.
During questioning, Coleman also told police that if he wouldn’t have been able to rob Nino, he would have held up the Treasure House thrift shop located next door.