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Police: Man accused
of killing jogger had argued with him before

LAWRENCEVILLE - A man on trial for allegedly killing a jogger in Yellow River Park in early 2007 had an altercation with the man at the park several years before the deadly incident, police testified Wednesday.

In sworn testimony, two Gwinnett County police officers said Charles Martin Coats contacted them in early 2004 about an argument he had at the park with William Scott Carr - the man prosecutors say Coats knifed to death three years later - in January 2004.

Though accounts differ, the argument apparently began when Coats was biking on a trail in the park and scolded Carr, who was running, for not having his two dogs on leashes. Coats told authorities Carr threatened to physically harm him. Statement's made by Carr at the time contradict this claim. Carr said after telling Coats he didn't have time to argue, Coats allegedly followed him throughout the rest of his jog, getting so close he hit his leg with his bike tire.

Prosecutors say Coats, 57, slit Carr's throat on Jan. 3, 2007, in the midst of another dispute. Carr later died at Emory Eastside Hospital.

Sean Sue, an Emory Eastside emergency doctor, testified that the cut to Carr's throat - a photograph of the wound was presented to jurors - was six centimeters in length.

Brian Steel, attorney for Coats, told the jury in opening arguments that Coats should be found not guilty because he was acting in self defense.

Coats has remained at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond since the incident.