Man accused of killing family to appear in court

St. Louis – A Metro East man accused of strangling his wife and two sons is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing today.

32-year-old Christopher Coleman of Columbia, Illinois is charged with first-degree murder in the May 5 deaths of 31-year-old Sheri Coleman and their children Garett, 11, and 9-year-old Gavin.

Investigators said Coleman planned the killings carefully. He's accused of sending threatening notes to himself in the months beforehand, then spray-painting vulgar messages on the home's walls as the stalker-killer's supposed calling card.

Coleman claims someone else killed his family while he was exercising at a gym. Police haven't discussed any motive.