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.