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Story by George Diepenbrock courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World

A Douglas County judge Monday ordered a 25-year-old Eudora man to face aggravated robbery and aggravated assault charges related to a March robbery reported at a Lawrence hotel.

Prosecutors accused Aaron Jacob Coates of using a knife and participating in the robbery of about $1,500 from a 32-year-old man, Mark A. Lawrence, who testified against Coates during Monday morning’s preliminary hearing.

Lawrence claimed Coates and others early on March 5 entered his hotel room at the Days Inn, 730 Iowa, and began accusing him of wearing a wire for law enforcement. Lawrence testified he was struck in the face and that another co-defendant Melanie Spanky Faye Brooks, 24, took the money from him as they ordered him to strip out of his clothes.

Assistant district attorney James McCabria asked for the aggravated assault charge against Coates because another female witness testified on Friday she was in the room and feared Coates would cut her with the knife.

Lawrence was in custody Monday because he faces charges in a 2011 drug case.

District Judge Michael Malone will arraign Coates April 18. Coates also faces a felon in possession of a firearm charge in another case. The next hearing for Brooks in the robbery case is May 10.

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