Community Reacts To Coons' Arrest In Homicide Of 12-year-old girl

Posted at 10:51 PM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 23:55:25-04

Just more than six weeks ago neighbors here at Hillvew Acres Mobile Home Park were shocked and saddened to learn of Yhoana Arteaga's brutal homicide, a crime officers say was committed by Roy Coons Jr., 45, on August, 10. 

Officers said DNA has linked him to the crime, he was arrested outside his mobile home Monday afternoon. 

Police Arrest Man In Brutal Murder Of Nashville 12-Year-Old

During the investigation as detectives meticulously went over the crime scene and days turned to weeks the residents there did not know they were living amongst an accused killer. However, Margaret Harper said she had idea all along.  

"Day one, day one, I seen him out mowing yards thinking he's got the nerve," said Harper. 

Coons lived just two doors down from the Arteaga family and made a living by mowing lawns and washing cars for folks in the neighborhood. 

Harper recalls the prayer vigil held for Arteaga a week after her death, that night her accused killer was in the crowd. 

"I walked over and I put a candle in his hand and all he did was he dropped his head and walked away," explained Harper. "My gut feeling was he's got a guilty conscience."

Coons' criminal background is extensive. He's been convicted of more than 30 felony and misdemeanor offenses since 1992. 

"I don't think there's a member of this police department that's not troubled by the fact that when we arrest people, very very often for violent crimes, that they have been arrested many times before and convicted but are yet on the streets," Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Adnerson said. 

If guilty, this is one crime Coons will likely not walk away from. 

"It's so sad, it's just so sad," Harper said with tears in her eyes. 

Coons was taken into custody without bond.