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Expert: Threats came from Coleman's computer

10:55 PM, May 2, 2011   |    comments
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Video: No outside DNA found in Coleman home

Chris Coleman looks at projected images of the spray painted threats found inside his home on the day of the murder. (Credit: Dan Martin St. Louis Post-Dispatch/STLtoday.com )
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  • Waterloo, IL (KSDK) - For months before his family was killed, Chris Coleman was telling people he was receiving death threats against his family because of his job as the body guard for television preacher Joyce Meyer. Monday, prosecutors tried to convince the jury those threats were bogus.

    The prosecution's computer expert was Sgt. Ken Wojtowicz with the Granite City Police Department.

    Sgt. Wojtowicz, who testified that most of his work is related to child pornography cases, said he copied and catalogued the contents of Coleman's computer and found seven threats emailed to Coleman in November 2008 and an eighth that was never sent.

    Sgt. Wojtowicz said the emails originated from the email address "destroychris@gmail.com" and testified that the account was created on Coleman's laptop computer - provided by Joyce Meyer Ministries.

    Sgt. Wojtowicz also testified that after a subpoena and search warrant were served to Google he was able to determine the emails threats were also sent from Coleman's computer.

    "Tell Joyce to stop preaching the (expletive) or Chris's family will die. If I can't get to Joyce then I'll get to someone close to her," one email read.

    The threats were addressed to Coleman, Joyce Meyer and others from her ministry.

    "You (expletive) are probably wondering how I got your emails. You stupid (expletive)... just like every company... so (expletive) predictable," on message entered in to evidence read.

    And there were references that implied Coleman had prevented the alleged sender from speaking to Meyer in person.

    "Tell Chris his family is dead!!! I know his schedule and they will die. Next time the (expletive) will let me talk to Joyce," Sgt. Wojtowicz read to jurors.

    The prosecutions computer expert drew some of the most aggressive questioning so far from the defense. Attorney John O'Gara tried to plant doubt by getting Sgt. Wojtowicz to agree that computers can be remotely controlled from other locations by other people using software or viruses.

    Prosecutors also presented evidence from AT&T. James Kientzy, an engineer from the company, said cell phone records show that Coleman did not drive straight home the morning of the murders when he said he was concerned that his wife wasn't answering the phone.

    What forensics did not find

    DNA evidence found inside the Coleman home where Sheri Coleman and her two sons, Garett and Gavin, were found murdered, was linked to members of the Coleman family, according to forensic scientists who testified in the murder trial.

    Illinois State Police Forensic Scientist Michael Brown said he collected several DNA samples from the victims' fingernails and from the bedding after the May 2009 murder. On Sheri and Garett, they found another person's DNA on them, but it was consistent with that of family members. Brown said that would not be uncommon because they all lived together and had constant contact.

    "Not a single genetic marker that I identified would have to have come from outside source," Brown said.

    The defense asked Brown if the DNA could have come from an outside source.

    Brown said it was possible because certain people share some common DNA markers.

    The defense asked if investigators examined DNA samples from Keith Coleman and if it would be similar to Keith's.

    Brown said they did not examine Keith's DNA and that the brothers may have DNA similarities, but the exact profile would differ.

    It was the second time the defense has brought up Keith Coleman's name. But, investigators said he has a credible alibi. He was spotted on an ATM camera in Arkansas.

    Illinois State Police Forensic Scientist Melody Levault testified that the loose strains of hair found on the crook of Gavin's elbow and near Garett's head, were consistent to that of Sheri's hair.
    In the first week of trial, Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist, testified that he believed the three were strangled by the same ligature and that's how the hair was transferred. He believed Sheri was killed first, then the boys.

    When police arrived at the Coleman home after the murders, they found a back window opened, which they believed the killer may have used to get inside the home.

    Rick Sawdey, who works for the company that made the windows, testified that the window was not damaged and that the window has a forced entry resistance mechanism that prevents anyone from entering from the outside. He said there was no damage to the locks and it did not appear to have ever been forcefully opened.

    The prosecution could wrap its case as early as Tuesday.

    If convicted, Coleman could face the death penalty.

    NewsChannel 5's Ryan Dean and Casey Nolen are following the trial and tweeting updates on the case @ksdknews.

    KSDK

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