UPDATE: Jury deliberating in Coleman trial

3:28 PM, May 4, 2011   |    comments
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Waterloo, IL (KSDK) - The defense team for accused family-killer Chris Coleman has rested in Waterloo, Illinois and the jury now has the case.

Closing arguments began at 1 p.m.  The case was turned over to the jury at around 3 p.m.

Earlier Wednesday, the first witness for the defense testified it appeared someone tried to disguise their handwriting when spray painting messages on the Coleman home on the day of the murders.

Handwriting expert Steve McKasson said he looked at the messages on the home and tried to compare them to known writings by Coleman.

"Anybody could have done it," McKasson said because of the disguise used in the messages.

When the prosecution cross-examined McKasson, he said he can't eliminate Coleman because of the disguise of the writing.

"It really means any comparison has a measure of unreliability," McKasson said.

Former Duke University Professor and linguistics expert Dr. Ronald Butters also testified for the defense.  He attempted to poke holes in the testimony presented by the prosecution's linguistics expert, Hofstra University Linguistics Professor Dr. Robert Leonard.

On Tuesday, Dr. Leonard testified there were similarities between threats sent to the Coleman family and documents Chris Coleman had written in the past. Dr. Butters said the similarities Dr. Leonard found were meaningless and unreliable.

The defense rested around 12:00 p.m. after calling two witnesses.  Chris Coleman was then brought before the judge and waived his right to testify.

Coleman is accused of murdering his wife, Sheri, and their two sons, Gavin and Garett, on May 5, 2009.

Thursday will mark the second anniversary of the murders at the Colemans' Columbia, Illinois home.

NewsChannel 5's Ryan Dean and Casey Nolen are in Monroe County covering the trial. Follow their updates on Twitter @ksdknews.












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