Waterloo, IL (KSDK) - The family of a Columbia, Illinois woman murdered by her husband is suing his employer.
Christopher Coleman was convicted of triple murder on May 5, 2011, exactly two years after his wife, Sheri, and their sons, Gavin and Garrett, were found strangled in their home.
The suit by Sheri Coleman's family claims Chris Coleman's employer, Joyce Meyer Ministries, knew about the threats made against the three victims and could have done more to prevent their deaths.
On Tuesday afternoon, Joyce Meyer's attorney filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, attempting to convince the judge there was not enough evidence to move forward with this case. NewsChannel 5 cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom, but sources said the two sides argued for about an hour before the judge had heard enough.
The issue at hand is not whether Joyce Meyer's Ministry had any knowledge that Coleman may have been plotting to kill his family, but whether they had a duty to report that knowledge. Meyer's attorney insists the ministry didn't know about Coleman's plans. And even if they did, there's nothing in Illinois law that would have required them to take action.
Lawyers for Sheri Coleman's family said the ministry did have knowledge of threats against the family and offered them security services. They said the ministry was negligent by offering those services and then doing nothing to protect the family.
Attorneys for Joyce Meyer said those security services were declined.
Both sides agree the murders were senseless and tragic, but the judge did not decide whether to approve or throw out the motion.
Lawyers were asked to email their cases to the judge so he could take them under further advisement.
It could be some time before he makes a decision.
Meanwhile, Chris Coleman was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders.