Christopher Coleman

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A judge for the second time in four months has thrown out a lawsuit blaming a televangelist for a former employee's killings of his wife and two sons.

Associate Judge Richard Aguirre dismissed the suit Wednesday in Monroe County. Aguirre ruled that he can't see any way how Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries could have foreseen that Christopher Coleman would kill his family.

Christopher Coleman killed his wife and sons at the Coleman's Columbia home in 2009. He was serving as Meyer's security chief.  He's now serving a life sentence.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Judge tosses lawsuit against Joyce Meyers Ministries

A southwestern Illinois judge has tossed a lawsuit against a televangelist filed by the family of a woman who was strangled along with her two sons.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Clair County Associate Judge Richard Aguirre this week signed the order dismissing the lawsuit against Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries. But he said it can be refiled within 30 days - something an attorney for the family says they will do.

via Flickr/vision63

A southwestern Illinois judge has tossed a wrongful death lawsuit against Joyce Meyer Ministries filed in 2011.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that on Tuesday St. Clair County Associate Judge Richard Aguirre signed the order dismissing the lawsuit against the Missouri-based televangelist. He said it can be refiled within 30 days - something an attorney for the family says they will do.

Flickr/Mat Culpepper

Ill. law regarding original birth certificates takes effect today

An Illinois law taking effect today will allow more adoptees to get copies of their original birth certificates and possibly learn the names of their biological parents.

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The southwestern Illinois home where a former Marine killed his wife and two sons is for sale.

The two-story, three-bedroom home is in Columbia, about 15 miles southeast of St. Louis. It was home to Christopher Coleman, who is serving a life sentence for strangling his wife Sheri Coleman and their 11- and 9-year-old sons in 2009.

(Courtesy Missouri State Fair)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Missouri State Fairgrounds temporarily close after nighttime storms

Update: A tweet from the Missouri State Fair: "State Fair to Open Gates at 3 p.m. Today - Luke Bryan and Josh Thompson will take the Grandstand Stage at 7:30 p.m. as scheduled"

Original Story:

The Missouri State Fairgrounds are closed after a strong storm knocked out power.

Christopher Coleman, the man convicted May 5 of murdering his wife, Sheri, and their two young sons, has been denied a new trial.

Coleman is currently serving life in prison without parole for the killings.

Christopher Coleman, the southwestern Illinois man convicted of strangling his wife and their two sons, has asked a judge to set aside his conviction and give him a new trial.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:49 p.m. with sentence decision:

Christopher Coleman has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

Original Story:

At 1 p.m. today, Circuit Judge Milton Wharton will decide the fate of Christopher Coleman, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

Steakpinball | Flickr

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.


After Guilty Verdict, Jury Will Now Decide Coleman's Punishment

The jury that convicted Christopher Coleman in the murder of his wife and sons now must decide whether he’s eligible for the death penalty.

Jurors deliberated for nearly 15 hours over two days before finding the 34-year-old Coleman guilty of three counts of first-degree murder Thursday evening. Thirty-one-year-old Sheri Coleman and the couple's 9- and 11-year-old sons were strangled in their Columbia home in May 2009.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Two years ago today, police in Columbia, Ill. found 31-year-old Sheri Coleman and her sons - 11-year-old Garett and nine-year-old Gavin - strangled in their beds.

Tonight, a Monroe County jury found her husband Chris guilty of their deaths, after 14 hours of deliberation spread over two days.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:


On Second Anniversary of Murders, Coleman Jury Deliberates

The jurors in the Christopher Coleman triple murder trial will begin a second day of deliberations. Coleman, a former Marine, is accused of strangling his wife and two sons in order to advance a love affair and protect his job working for Joyce Meyer Ministries.

Jurors began deliberating Wednesday, Day 8 of the trial. The defense opened their case Wednesday morning and called two witnesses: a handwriting expert and a forensic linguist.


All-night Filibuster Ends in Mo. Senate

An all-night filibuster in the Missouri Senate is over. Tuesday afternoon, four Republicans began blocking a capital improvements bill because their attempt to remove $41 million in federal stimulus funds was voted down. The filibuster ended just before 6 a.m. this morning, after an agreement was reached to send more than $14 million back to Washington. That proposal was offered by fellow Republican Brad Lager from Andrew County.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Jurors heard testimony Thursday from the mistress of Chris Coleman, the Metro East man accused of killing his wife and two young sons.

Tara Lintz of St. Petersburg, Florida had gone to high school with Coleman’s wife, Sheri.

In the Monroe County courtroom Thursday Lintz testified that she and Chris Coleman began a relationship in December 2009 and that they had exchanged promise rings. She indicated that she was wearing hers in court today.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Army Corps of Engineers to Decide on Levee Breach this Weekend

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will wait until this weekend to decide whether to punch a massive hole in a Mississippi County, Missouri levee to protect Cairo, Ill.

The mayor of the small city isn't waiting that long to take action.

Rachel Lippmann/SLPR News

Corps of Engineers to Decide on Breach of Missouri Levee

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

After six months of delays, and just days before the second anniversary of the crime, testimony began this morning in the triple murder trial of Christopher Coleman.

Coleman is charged with strangling his wife Sheri and their two young sons early on the morning of May 5, 2009, allegedly so he could marry his mistress - a high school friend of Sheri's - without running afoul of his employer's no-divorce policy. Coleman was the chief of security for Joyce Meyer Ministries at the time of the murders.

Coleman has pleaded not guilty to the murders, and remains jailed in Monroe County without bond. Prosecutor Kris Reitz is seeking the death penalty.

In an opening statement about 30 minutes, Reitz promised a comprehensive case involving nearly 40 witnesses. "This case is too important to leave anything out," he said, speaking directly to the jury of 10 women and two men. (Four alternates are all male.) "When all the evidence is in, I will ask you to find Chris Coleman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Opening Statements Begin Today in Christopher Coleman Trial

Area residents started to line-up early this morning outside the Monroe County courthouse to watch the start of the case. The crime took place nearly 2 years ago. Prosecutors allege that Coleman, who once handled security for the Joyce Meyer Ministries, killed his wife Sheri and their sons Garrett and Gavin to be with a mistress. That woman, Tara Lintz, has been ordered to testify and a deposition from Joyce Meyer will also be part of the prosecutor's case.

Flickr/Marcin Wichary

Severe Weather Hits Missouri

Tornados swept through eastern Missouri yesterday, damaging homes and yanking down power lines. No injuries were reported.

The Pike County Sheriff's Department says the storm hit the Bowling Green area late yesterday afternoon, and that three tornadoes were seen in the county in a 45-minute period. Some homes in the Clarksville area had roof damage, and barns and outbuildings in rural Pike County also were damaged.