Coleman murder convictions upheld by appellate court

Coleman family

Pictured are Sheri Coleman and sons Garett and Gavin.

The Fifth District Appellate Court on Dec. 31 delivered a judgment upholding the 2011 murder convictions of Christopher Coleman for the strangling deaths of his wife and two young sons.

Coleman is serving three concurrent life sentences for the murders, which occurred May 5, 2009 in Columbia.

His attorneys claimed in the appeal, among other things, that the murder trial in Monroe County, using a jury brought in from Perry County, was mishandled due to the presentation by prosecutors of sexually charged pictures and videos of Coleman with his mistress, Tara Lintz, testimony as to the victims’ times of death, and the judge’s allowance of multiple witnesses to testify to hearsay statements about Chris and Sheri’s failing marriage.

The prosecution said at trial that Coleman, who worked as a security chief for Joyce Meyer Ministries, was the author of threatening emails and letters to himself and his family, and strangled Sheri and their sons Garett and Gavin to end his marriage and continue his new relationship with Lintz.

“We believe that no error… was so grave that it infected the fundamental fairness of the trial,” the appellate court wrote in its decision. “After careful consideration and a thorough review of the record, we find the state presented sufficient evidence for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant killed all three victims.Β Β The jury upheld the best traditions of our common law jury system of justice.”Β 

To view the full appellate court opinion, click here.

Coleman’s attorneys could still ask the Illinois Supreme Court to hear the case through a Petition for Leave to Appeal as a next step, but that action has not yet been taken.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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