Former Joyce Meyer bodyguard loses murder conviction appeal

 

The Daily Mail reports…

“An Illinois man who was the bodyguard for high-profile televangelist Joyce Meyer has lost a bid in an appellate court this week after being convicted and sentenced to life in prison for strangling his wife and two sons to death.

Christopher Coleman was 32 when he killed his wife, Sheri, 31, and their two boys Garett, 11, and Gavin, nine, in 2009, in order to start a new life with his mistress, a jury found.

Prosecutors argued at his 2011 trial that Coleman feared he would lose his $100,000-a-year job as part of the personal security detail for multi-millionaire Pentecostal preacher Meyer – who travels the world delivering evangelical lectures – if his affair were to become public.

The year before the murders he started a relationship with Tara Lintz, a childhood friend of Coleman’s wife, who testified that Coleman had promised he would serve divorce papers on May 5, 2009 – the same day his family were found murdered in their beds inside their Waterloo home.

Coleman allegedly spent six months plotting the brutal murder, shortly after beginning an affair with Miss Lintz, a Florida cocktail waitress.

The jury was shown explicit photos and messages exchanged between the pair, including a video of Coleman masturbating.

They had also filmed a sex tape in Hawaii. 

According to the prosecution, Coleman started sending his family threatening, expletive-filled messages from a gmail account he set up himself.

The first read simply: ‘Your family is done’. They continued with ‘tell Joyce to stop preaching [expletive] or your Chris’s family will die’ and ‘I will kill them all as they sleep.’

But prosecutors say the threats were in fact a ploy to set up a mystery stalker as the murderer, the St Louis Post-Despatch reported at the time of the trial.

They claim he decided to kill his wife rather than reveal his affair and go through a divorce

Charismatic Christian Meyer – who Coleman had known since he was a child – gave a pre-recorded testimony saying that Coleman most likely would have lost his job had he been revealed as having an affair.

The day before killings, Coleman said he wasn’t feeling well and was given the day off by Meyer, who said was unusual behavior for her employee.

The next day, May 5, 2009, Coleman left his comfortable suburban house in Waterloo to go to the gym at 5.43am.

After his workout he said he called home and was worried when no-one answered, so he rang a neighbor, police officer Justin Barlow, to check on his family.

Officer Jason Donjon, who entered the house with Mr Barlow, testified last week they found the house was covered in threatening messages daubed in red paint.

The graffiti read: ‘I am watching’, ‘punished’ and ‘u have paid’.

Then they discovered the bodies of Mrs Coleman and her two sons, killed in separate bedrooms.

Mrs Coleman was left naked in bed, strangled with a ligature. Her eldest son, Garett, was curled up in bed with spray paint on his sheets.

Finally the youngest, Gavin, was seen lying face down with his limbs dangling either side of the bed and swear words daubed on his covers.

Later, pathologist Dr Raj Nanduri, who performed the autopsy, said it was likely the victims were strangled between 3am and 5am – before Coleman left for the gym.

Police also said they found a Word document on Coleman’s computer that had details about Lintz, including her ring size, and even a name for their future child, Zoe. 

Coleman pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He has never admitted having anything to do with the murders.

He was found guilty of three charges of first-degree murder in 2011.

However his defense argued that a judge wrongly allowed hearsay testimony about his failing marriage. 

Coleman also questioned testimony about the victims’ time of death and prosecutors’ use of a forensic linguist and of sexually provocative photos and videos of Coleman’s mistress.

The Mount Vernon-based 5th District Appellate Court issued a ruling Wednesday that found circumstantial evidence presented at Christopher Coleman’s Monroe County trial was ‘overwhelming’.

He will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

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