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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.