WATERLOO, Ill. (KMOX) – Day two of the Christopher Coleman triple-murder trial jurors heard a testimony from a renowned forensic pathologist, one of the first people on the scene the morning of the murders, plus watched surveillance video and video of police questioning Coleman.
To start the morning pathologist Dr. Michael M. Baden testified about his scientific understanding as to the time of death of Sheri, Garett and Gavin Coleman. Baden said based on photos and other information sent to him by the coroner and by police officers the murders occurred at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Placing Coleman at the house where his wife, Sheri and their two sons were strangled.
An interesting point, during Baden cross-examination Defense attorney Jim Stern pointed out that Baden was called by a witness for the defense in the O.J. Simpson trial.
Monroe County State’s attorney Kris Reitz asked Baden about that in re-cross examination. Baden said science should not be bias and he does not change his testimony based on who hires him.
Watching Coleman in the courtroom, KMOX’s Brian Kelly said Coleman stared at the table in front of him and never looked up at the gruesome photos of his former wife and children being projected on the wall behind him.
Former Columbia Police Detective, Sgt. Jason Barlow was among the first on the scene when the murders were discovered early on the morning of May 5, 2009.
Barlow lived on the same street as the Coleman’s. After Chris Coleman notified him of threats, Barlow told the court he had put up a surveillance video camera in his son’s bedroom showing the front of the Coleman’s home.
The morning of the killings, jurors were shown the video where Coleman leaves his home at 5:43 a.m. He calls Barlow at 6:43 asking to check on his family. Coleman arrives at 6:56.
By then Columbia, Illinois Police had been there and had found the bodies. When Coleman comes into the house he asks, “what’s going on?”. Barlow testified he told him, “Chris, they didn’t make it.” But Barlow says Coleman never asks what happened to them or how they died.
Day two of the trial ended with jurors watching the first part of nearly six hours of video of police questioning Christopher Coleman.
KMOX’s Brian Kelly tells us Coleman’s father took his mother out of the courtroom minutes after the video started that showed Chris entering the interrogation room and breaking down and crying and sobbing. He also took a minute to check texts on his phone.
During the interview Coleman is seen crying a couple of other times, including describing putting the boys to bed, and then after telling investigators Sheri had fallen asleep in his arms on the couch the night before the killings.
Coleman tells detectives the two had talked about splitting up but they started meeting with a pastor from Joyce Meyer ministry (where Coleman was employed).
The next morning police were able to look at his phone and see when he started checking on Sheri. The first call came at 5:43a.m., which is, according to the surveillance video also shown in court, exactly when he left the house. He also texted her a few times. One time: “I know you were tired last night”. Another one: “hello, you up?” And at 6:27a.m.: “time to get the kids up.” Shortly after that he made a couple of more phone calls and then called his neighbor, Detective Barlow, to check on the house.
Trial resumes Wednesday morning.
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