Naval officer charged with killing pregnant girlfriend allegedly tried to make her get abortion

A U.S. Navy officer arrested for killing his pregnant girlfriend had taken her to a Virginia Beach abortion clinic the day before her death.

Emmanuel Coble, 27, took 20-year-old Raquiah King to the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood on July 20, according to a court affidavit that was first reported on by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

Later that day, King shared a sonogram image of her 12-week pregnancy with her mom, Rachel Pender, who told the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office that the couple was in distress because Mr. Coble “did not want to be a father,” according to the affidavit.

“Rachel Pender reported that Raquiah King had made statements to her that if something was to happen to her, Emmanuel Coble was responsible,” investigators wrote, according to the newspaper. “Raquiah texted Coble’s full name, date of birth, addresses and phone numbers to Pender.”

A day later, King’s nude body was found on the side of the road in Hanover County with a bullet wound in her back.

Ms. Pender reported her daughter missing on July 28. 

Mr. Coble was arrested on Aug. 12 and charged with first-degree murder as well as the use of a firearm in a felony. 

The affidavit cited text messages King exchanged with her cousin on July 20 in which she said she agreed to go through with the abortion and showed proof that Mr. Coble had paid for it. King also told her cousin she was going to break up with Mr. Coble after the abortion.

“Coble said that King had told him that the child was his,” investigators wrote in the affidavit, referencing a consensual interview with Mr. Coble on Aug. 5. “He said that he paid for the abortion, but he guessed that she’d changed her mind and had kept the child. He said that this ‘frustrated’ him.”

Mr. Coble told investigators that he went to bed around 9 p.m. on July 20 and didn’t wake until daylight. 

However, the affidavit cited surveillance footage of his car being driven around 4:45 a.m. on July 21. A search warrant for his car also turned up evidence of human blood in his trunk and a hair band that matched one on King’s wrist during her autopsy.

Mr. Coble is a junior grade lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and had been assigned to the USS John C. Stennis, a supercarrier temporarily docked in Norfolk.

He is being held pending a hearing on Dec. 6

• This article was based in part on wire service reports.