WATERLOO, IL (KMOX)-At the conclusion of a pre-trial hearing Friday, the judge in the Chris Coleman triple murder case has declared that “We are ready for trial as scheduled”. However, there are still some questions to be answered before jury selection begins next month.
Among them is how much of the roughly six hours of conversation between Coleman and police officers on the day Coleman’s wife and two sons were murdered, should be allowed in court.
Defense attorneys claim that since he was not charged, Coleman should have been allowed to leave the Columbia Police station when he said he wanted to. They also claim that the interrogation was “extremely long and unfair” and that his “statements were the product of duress.”
During Friday’s hearing, a detective testified that after about an hour of questioning, Coleman changed his testimony after being told that some of what he had said contradicted evidence uncovered up to that point.
Circuit Judge Milton Wharton will view the video before issuing his ruling.
The defense also argued that any evidence uncovered by a female crime scene investigator at the police station should be suppressed, because Coleman disrobed during the examination. The defense claims such mixed gender strip searches require prior judicial agreement.
Wharton also will hold a hearing on whether a forensic linguistic expert will be allowed to testify. That expert will compare Coleman’s handwriting to the handwriting on a threatening note delivered to the house and on the spray paint on the walls found after the killings.
The judge Friday, indicated he will allow testimony from the Columbia Police Chaplain, about what Coleman told him after they had completed 36 minutes of counseling inside an ambulance outside the Coleman’s home, where the murders had occurred. Prosecutors say that after the chaplain asked Coleman about scratches on his arms, Coleman punched a gurney.
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