Christopher Coleman
1:30 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Jurors say Coleman eligible for death sentence

The jury that convicted a southwestern Illinois man of murdering his wife and sons has decided he's eligible for the death penalty.

The jurors made that determination Friday as the sentencing phase of Christopher Coleman's trial began. The hearing to decide whether he should receive that penalty is expected to begin Monday.

The jury deliberated 15 hours over two days before finding Coleman guilty of three counts of first-degree murder Thursday. Sheri Coleman and the couple's 9- and 11-year-old sons were strangled in their Columbia home in May 2009.

Illinois has abolished the death penalty, effective July 1. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he'll commute any death sentences handed down before then to life in prison.

But prosecutors say they're seeking the death sentence because the case deserves it.