Slain woman’s family sues alleged killer

Christopher Coleman has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond.
The mother and brother of a 31-year-old woman found strangled with her two young sons in the bedrooms of their home filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against the alleged killer — the husband and father of the victims.

Christopher Coleman has pleaded not guilty in the triple homicide police say took place early in the morning on May 5 in the family home in the small southwestern Illinois city of Columbia. “To strip the culpable party of all financial holdings — all that he has now and all that he may ever have,” is the aim of the suit, said a statement accompanying the suit filed in Monroe County circuit court by Angela DeCicco and Mario Weiss, the mother and brother of Sheri Coleman. “To allow one penny of ill-gotten gain to be derived at the expense of Sheri, Garett and Gavin is not acceptable to those who dearly love them.” The money would go to a memorial fund set up for Coleman and her sons, Garett, 11, and Gavin, 9 and “these funds will be used to erect a lasting tribute in the city of Columbia,” according to the complaint. “Our goal is to extract something positive from such a horrific and senseless tragedy and to honor the lives of my sister and her two young sons,” Weiss said. The wrongful death suit also names Coleman’s father, Ronald, and the Joyce Meyer Ministries, where Coleman worked until shortly after his family was killed, as “respondents in discovery,” which means they may be forced to hand over financial documents and information such as Coleman’s personnel file, his work schedule and travel itineraries and the Ministries’ employment policies.

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In addition, the suit tries to establish a timeline of events before and after the killings, saying the Colemans took the deed to their home in 2005, but six months ago, ownership was transferred to Christoper Coleman alone. “Sheri did not voluntarily sign the deed transferring title to the residence to Christopher,” the document says. Lawyers in the civil suit also allege that in the period between the killings and his arrest, Coleman removed personal property from the home. The suit asks that Coleman and anyone “acting at his direction” be forbidden from entering the home again and that he provide a list of items already removed. Coleman remains in jail after a judge denied bond.