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Coleman Abruptly Resigns From Joyce Meyer Ministries
Aired May 15, 2009 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEAN CASAREZ, GUEST HOST: Breaking news. A quiet, close-knit Illinois suburb reeling tonight after a gorgeous young mother and her two little sons are found dead in their upscale two-story home, 31-year-old Sheri Coleman and little Garett and Gavin, just 9 and 11 years old, reportedly strangled, each in their own bedrooms. In the last days, mother and sons laid to rest side by side.
Investigators announce they know the killer, but they also say forensics are keeping them from making a formal arrest. They now have called off police surveillance of the husband and daddy, Christopher Coleman. As we go to air tonight, Coleman resigns from his high-profile security job with popular televangelist Joyce Meyer, the investigation reportedly unveiling skeletons in Coleman`s closet. But that`s not all. Police also -- they seized security and electronic equipment Coleman used in his job. But who killed Sheri Coleman and her two young sons?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST: A gorgeous 31-year-old mom, her two little boys, Garett and Gavin, aged 11 and 9, apparently each methodically suffocated, strangled to death their own beds in the early morning hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are no longer following him. It was obvious we were following him for about a day. That was just -- we were concluding the investigation, and we just wanted to know his whereabouts in case we needed to further the investigation with him.
GRACE: You believe you know who did it. If you know who did it, why aren`t you arresting him, Major?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time, we don`t have a warrant that`s been issued by the state`s attorney of Monroe County. There were threats on the walls. There was threats towards the family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say that they do have a person of interest and they do have enough evidence. However, they`re not going to reveal who the person of interest is, and they`ve handed off the investigation to the Monroe County prosecutors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Good evening. I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network In Session, in for Nancy Grace tonight. Who killed a gorgeous young mother and her two little boys, reportedly strangled in their upscale Illinois home?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any comment (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was right around 5:43, 5:45 when he left the house. Right around 6:50 is when he called the police. So it was just barely over an hour later when he called police to do a welfare check, just to go by the house and see what was going on because reportedly, his wife, Sheri, was not answering the phone.
GRACE: Police also announcing they are pulling surveillance off the husband/daddy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was extensive surveillance. They left the house around 8:00 AM, and three unmarked cop cars followed him, as well as an SUV loaded with law enforcement officials. He left his dad`s house at about 8:00 AM. They arrived at the ceremony, where they`re going to lay these three victims to rest. That was about 9:30 AM. Law enforcement observed from outside the cemetery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could be just -- make sure they have, besides just a circumstantial case, a good forensics case.
GRACE: They will rest in eternity side by side but not necessarily in peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Let`s go straight out to McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS radio. The latest news coming out, a press release just issued by Joyce Meyer Ministries -- we have it right here -- Chris Coleman has resigned from his job. McGraw, why?
MCGRAW MILHAVEN, TALK SHOW HOST, KTRS RADIO: Yes, from published reports, he resigned because he broke some type of code with the Joyce Meyer ministry. Now, what that code is, we don`t know, and what he did to break the code, we don`t know at this point. But as of now, he has resigned from his job at the Joyce Meyer ministry.
CASAREZ: Well, we`ve got the press release right here. "An internal inquiry discovered that Chris Coleman failed to follow ministry policy during his employment. He has submitted his resignation."
To Nick Pistor, reporter from "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch." What does this mean, "failed to follow ministry policy"?
NICK PISTOR, "ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH": We`re not exactly sure what the ministry policy is. We do know that police sources tell us that Chris Coleman had a girlfriend, and that at some point, he had met up with her while he was doing work for the ministry when they would travel across the country.
CASAREZ: Well, let`s go out to the attorneys, Susan Moss, Family law attorney, child advocate, Peter Schaffer out of New York, famed defense attorney, and Daniel Horowitz, nationally known defense attorney out of San Francisco.
To Susan Moss. Many times in a contract for employment, there is what is called a "morals clause." Define that for everybody.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: A morals clause is when you have to act in good faith and do things right. If you do anything that`s outside of moral -- like, for example, commit adultery or go meet a friend that you`re not supposed to do when you`re married -- you can lose your job. I mean, the reality is, you`re not supposed to go on a ministry trip to pick up a chick, especially if you`re married.
CASAREZ: All right. Well, people instantaneously think it could be a morals issue. But to Clark Goldband, Nancy Grace producer. There also have been allegations that for a while now, the family, specifically the father, Chris Coleman, has been getting threats from people that he knew through his employment?
CLARK GOLDBAND, NANCY GRACE STAFFER: Well, exactly right, Jean. It`s our understanding that Chris Coleman told friends and some neighbors that he had been receiving threats in the mail. Now, it`s not clear what timeframe those threats started. It`s also not clear what exactly was contained in those threats. But I can tell you this. Law enforcement apparently was told about these threats, and they trained a surveillance camera, apparently, on the outside of the home.
CASAREZ: Well, that is fascinating. Now, to Peter Schaffer, defense attorney out of New York. Everyone is saying that an alleged girlfriend out of Florida, when he works for a ministry, even in the aspect of surveillance and security, could have led to this resignation. But if, in fact, he was getting threats from someone and either didn`t report that or maybe did something not in the line of business in regard to threats he was getting from others, isn`t that another reason that his resignation could have been founded (ph) today?
PETER SCHAFFER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there could have been a lot of reasons for him to submit a resignation. But under the circumstances here, losing a job is not the thing I would be worrying about, if I were him.
CASAREZ: But it wouldn`t look too good to a jury. Now, we want to tell everybody, he is not a suspect, he hasn`t been arrested, but obviously, he has been part of the entire police investigation.
I want to go back to Clark Goldband, Nancy Grace producer. You had touched on this, and I want to talk about it. Police have also today seized security and electronic equipment that at least Mr. Coleman used in his job?
GOLDBAND: Yes, Jean. That`s our understanding. Law enforcement has not commented on this. But security involved at the church he was employed at has said there was electronic equipment seized. We don`t know what was contained in that electronic equipment. We do know he worked in security and he worked on the night shift.
CASAREZ: To Pat Brown, criminal profiler, author of "Killing for Sport." With your experience, somebody involved in security, what type of security equipment, electronic equipment would he have, possibly owned by the church, that now are in the hands of police?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, he could have a number of different types of pieces of equipment. But why he would be -- you know, why those would be seized is the peculiar part.
And I want to say something about these threats. He worked in security. Now, let`s face it, stalkers, people who threaten others usually, if they`re threatening a family, are threatening, perhaps, Joyce Meyer or Joyce Meyer`s husband or somebody else high up in the industry that`s on television. Why would they be after a security guard?
I`m curious whether he himself claimed there were threats against him. In other words, he was setting up some scenario for what was going to happen. I`m sure the police are looking at that.
CASAREZ: Now, that`s a great point. Clark, from what I understand, the threats allegedly that were made to the family, or at least to Mr. Coleman himself, were made way before these murders ever happened?
GOLDBAND: It`s not exactly clear, Jean, when that timeframe was. But what we do know is that the threats, according to friends and neighbors who talked to the press, came in before that this incident happened.
CASAREZ: All right. Let`s go out to Sheeba in Illinois. Good evening, Sheeba. You`re in the state that`s involved in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, good evening, darling. My question is -- and I live in Illinois. If the policemen -- or the police know who the subject is that killed this wife and these little boys, why can`t they go arrest this jerk (INAUDIBLE)
CASAREZ: All right, Sheeba, at least you were cut out of my hearing. But your question was, if they know who this is, and the police have said that there is one person they believe committed this murder alone -- to Daniel Horowitz, defense attorney out of San Francisco. Why don`t they arrest the person now?
DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, Jean, I`ve thought about that. And the excuse that was on Nancy`s show, where they said, Well, the state`s attorney hasn`t gotten us an arrest warrant, is nonsense. I don`t think, Jean, they have enough yet to make an arrest. They may think they know who it is, but I suspect they`re putting out a very strong face to spook the suspect to see if they can get him to run or do something to incriminate himself.
CASAREZ: Well, that`s very interesting. With us tonight, the renowned forensic pathologist out of Florida, Dr. Joshua Perper, chief medical examiner, Broward County, the author of "When to Call the Doctor." Dr. Perper, this case may not have an eyewitness, it may not have other aspects. Are forensics what are going to play the largest role in this case, they are waiting for forensic results, and that`s why no arrests?
DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: That`s probably exactly the reason because even if they don`t have all the evidence aligned (ph), they should have sufficient evidence to arrest him. And we don`t know what kind of forensic evidence they have. Probably, they should have something which links the suspect to the crime.
CASAREZ: That`s right. Now, I know several nights ago, you spoke of forensics in this case. You focused on what could be under the fingernails. There could have been a fight. What I want to ask you is, when someone is sleeping and maybe even in a sound sleep, is it relatively easy to commit a crime as what is being said here, of suffocation, or can someone wake up and put up a fight?
PERPER: Well, it`s possible that both thing can occur. In other words, somebody`s still under the influence of the sleep, when suddenly, they are attacked. And the question is, How powerful is the person who is doing the strangling? And if that person compresses the neck strong enough or has a ligature, then there`s very little what the victim can do, except for scratching either the assailant or scratching her own neck and trying to escape the strangling hold.
CASAREZ: Well, let me tell you, Dr. Perper, as I know you know, if the perpetrator is ever found in this case and it goes and there is a conviction, in the penalty phase, that can be an aggravating factor of such cruel and unusual torture to someone.
Let`s go to Julia in Tennessee. Good evening, Julia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. How are you?
CASAREZ: I`m fine. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that maybe he might have set this up and maybe opened the window or took the screen off the window for someone to have easy access in the house, then went to the gym? Because the phone call right afterwards just seems suspicious to me. You know, it just doesn`t seem right. Just like he knew that there was somebody after him, why didn`t he stay home to protect his family?
CASAREZ: Right. Let`s go out to Nick Pistor -- Pistor, reporter, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch." Can you go back just through the basic facts of this case with us and focus on that bottom basement entry window?
PISTOR: Last Tuesday, police had gotten a call from Mr. Coleman. They arrived at the house, went in, found the bodies in their bedrooms. He arrived shortly after that. He had said he had gone to the gym at 5:45, called police shortly before 7:00, and then that`s when police arrived. The basement floor was somehow damp and open.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The husband had a long-ranging affair with a woman in Florida. She once worked at a gentlemen`s club, or a strip club, as you would call it. And now she`s a cocktail waitress in the Largo, Florida area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Detectives say that one person is responsible for the brutal murders of an Illinois mother and her two young sons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that this was not a random act, that it was actually intended to kill the three members of this family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say that Sheri Coleman and her 9 and 11- year-old sons, seen here, were strangled in their beds inside of their southwestern Illinois home. Police say the family was targeted and confirm a written threat was left on the wall at the crime scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were words written on the wall, and the words say, I told you this was going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The boys` father, Chris Coleman, was not at home during the killings and was fingerprinted under a court order. Prosecutors say they are waiting to file charges until evidence comes back from forensic testing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network In Session, in for Nancy Grace tonight. A triple homicide in the state of Illinois, the killer still on the loose tonight. The father of the victims and of his wife, Chris Coleman, resigned unexpectedly from Joyce Meyer Ministries, an extremely respected ministry organization, has been in this country for over 20 years.
Out to McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS radio. We know that Mr. Coleman did security for this ministry. In what capacity did he do security?
MILHAVEN: We don`t know. We do know this. We do know that he went on a number of trips in conjunction with the ministry. Whether that was down to Florida, whether that was to -- whether it was advance media -- Joyce Meyer goes on -- does a number of tours, a number of speaking engagements. We don`t know if he was her personal bodyguard or he was advance work or detail work. We do know that he went on trips in conjunction with his job with the Joyce Meyer ministry.
CASAREZ: And Nick Pistor, reporter, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch." There are reports that he would work nights when he was in town with his family in the Illinois, Missouri area. What did he do nights with his security job?
PISTOR: He would often just do surveillance work. He would handle the cameras and things like that. They have an extensive compound in south St. Louis County and Jefferson County. He would do all sorts of work for Joyce to keep the place safe.
CASAREZ: All right. Out to Sandy in Wisconsin. Good evening, Sandy. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening. I was just -- as I was listening here, I was hearing questions about more or less accountability of this man. I do know, with some of the ministries that you need to more or less fill out a form, and you need to be very up front and honest with your life. Was -- is it said that he was close with the Meyer family? And I`m very surprised about that, if so, because I`m wondering what kind of an impact it`s going to have on her ministry, if any.
CASAREZ: That`s a very good question. To Nick Pistor, reporter, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch." How long had Mr. Coleman worked for the ministry, and was he close to the actual family? They`re based in Missouri, right, St. Louis area?
PISTOR: Yes, they are based in the St. Louis area. He is very close with the family. He had worked there -- he`s worked there for at least more than five years, from what we`ve been able to ascertain. It`s been very tough on Joyce Meyer. She`s put out statements. She`s put out her condolences to the family. She said she`s, you know, praying for everyone in the family. So it`s a tough time.
CASAREZ: It`s a tough time for everybody. To Maureen in Arizona. Good evening, Maureen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Good evening. My question is this. I`m wondering what the autopsy lists as the time of death of the Coleman family because it lends to whether or not they had been dead possibly even the evening before.
CASAREZ: Such an important question. Dr. Joshua Perper, forensic pathologist out of Florida, first of all, how do you determine time of death?
PERPER: Well, the time of death is determined by what we call the post-mortem clock. And it`s not a very precise clock. What we evaluate is whether the body is cold or warm, whether they develop what is called rigidity or stiffness of that (ph), whether there is special discoloration after death, which you call it post-mortem lividity, and whether it`s consistent to the position of the body.
And in this particular case, if you remember, the husband basically claimed that he saw the -- his wife alive about an hour or an hour-and-a- half before. So at that time, the bodies should have been warm and should not have had any later post-mortem changes.
CASAREZ: Dr. Perper, what about stomach contents? Because if the family had eaten dinner the night before, or even I guess breakfast that morning -- I mean, can`t that help determine your time of death?
PERPER: That`s correct, if there`s a history of death (ph). But in this particular instance the husband claims that he saw his wife basically within an hour or an hour-and-a-half. So you don`t need those kind of indices like the gastric contents because you should have a body which has almost a normal temperature, about a degree less than the normal temperature. And if the body was for the entire night, there would be clear signs of post-mortem changes which would indicate that, basically, the husband doesn`t tell the truth.
CASAREZ: Right. Exactly. I was going to say, unless, generally speaking, you want to impeach someone. I want to go to Lillian Glass, Ph.D. psychologist, body language expert, author, "I Know What You`re Thinking." Doctor, I want to talk about what someone was thinking when they wrote a message on the wall, I told you this was going to happen. Could that be directed toward the victims in this case and not Mr. Coleman?
LILLIAN GLASS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, it could be directed towards anybody. We don`t know. But one thing we do know, that the person who did commit this had some major rage towards the wife and these two little innocent boys.
CASAREZ: Rage. All right.
Tonight, the National Vigil for Hope, making a difference and bringing awareness of missing children. More than 300,000 children are missing in the United States. The coalition of businesses, organizations, media and communities believe one missing child is one too many. This Sunday, May 17th, thousands across the country will gather at 7:00 PM Eastern time for one-hour prayer vigils. For more information and to help find missing children, go to Nationalvigilforhope.org.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Coleman, the husband and father who lost his wife and two kids to reported strangulation in their own home, may have been having a relationship with another woman, according to "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch," "The Post-Dispatch" alleging through law enforcement sources cops traveled to Florida to interview the alleged woman, who they report worked in a bar and as a hostess for a gentlemen`s club.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network In Session, in for Nancy Grace tonight. A triple homicide out of Illinois, the killer still at large. But reports are that the killer, allegedly the killer, before he left or before he committed the crime, had enough time to write on the wall in the basement area something to the effect, I told you this would happen. We don`t know if it was magic marker, paint, or crayon even.
Out to Pat Brown, criminal profiler out of Washington, D.C. When you look at a message like that, how personal is that?
BROWN: Oh, Jean, I just have to sit here and laugh because it`s, like, the worst staged crime scene I`ve ever seen. This is the kind of scene you see when somebody is trying to say somebody else did it. The open window, number one sign of a staged crime scene. It`s, like, Well, gosh, somebody had to get into my house. Number two, scrawl something across the wall that says, See, the bad guy came in here and was really, really angry.
Three, the people are all strangled, so there`s no blood in the house, so I can get my house back and it won`t be messed up. And here`s what`s really curious. Mr. Coleman supposedly has these very vicious somebody after his family. He is in security. A man that`s in security doesn`t have any videocameras taping anything in the house. He provides no safety, no locks for his windows and doors, and he leaves his family unattended. I`m sorry, but they`re going to be -- this guy`s just looking bad very bad.
CASAREZ: And Chris Coleman, though, is not a suspect. He has not been arrested. The killer is somewhere out in a community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJOR JEFF CONNOR, COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT, ON THE CASE: After nine days of investigation we developed information that we believe one person is actually involved in this homicide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Coleman reportedly says he went to the gym at 5:30 a.m. to work out. He became nervous around 7:00 when he couldn`t reach his 31-year-old wife, Sheri, and two sons, Garett, 11, and Gavin, 9.
Coleman called police for a welfare check and found the family dead in their own house. Reportedly all the victims of strangulation.
CONNOR: There is some evidence that we`ve collected. That -- it is no secret, we were out on Interstate 255. We believe there was evidence discarded around this route. So I can be a little bit more specific that if there`s somebody out there in the public that thinks they saw something along that area, maybe along the bridge, to call us. That could be a key to helping us also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN CASAREZ, GUEST HOST: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network "In Session` in for Nancy Grace tonight. Thank you for joining us.
Out to Sandy in Illinois. Thank you for waiting, Sandy. What`s your question?
SANDY, CALLER FROM ILLINOIS: Why isn`t anything mentioned about her family and what they think? I haven`t heard anything about them.
CASAREZ: All right. Let`s talk about her family, who must be so very, very much in grief right now.
To McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS Radio, what can you tell us about this beautiful Sheri Coleman`s family?
MCGRAW MILHAVEN, TALK SHOW HOST, KTRS RADIO, COVERING STORY: Here`s what we know about the family. They`re keeping themselves quiet until some charges are brought. We also know this, that Chris Coleman originally agreed to let the bodies go up to Chicago for a funeral and then have the bodies then transported back down state to southern Illinois, to Chester, Illinois, to have them buried.
They -- he then reneged on that promise. The Coleman -- Sheri`s family then had to go to court to get a court order to allow the bodies to go up to have a service up in Chicago.
CASAREZ: Well, and that`s some interesting facts here.
MILHAVEN: Also, also, Jean, let me also throw this out. Chris Coleman did not call her family for 48 hours. They found out through the police. He called them 48 hours after the bodies were discovered dead.
CASAREZ: All right. Let`s go out to Susan Moss, family law attorney, child advocate. You know, Susan, two of the victims here were under 12 years of age. They were 11 and 9-year-old, Garett and Gavin Coleman.
I`ve been looking up Florida -- Illinois law tonight, and of course there is a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois. But a moratorium is defined as a suspension really of the death penalty. It`s still in their statutes. And first-degree murder, obviously, can be a life felony where somebody intends to kill or even intends to do serious bodily harm.
But there are aggravators that can make this a death case, one being multiple victims, another being that victims are under 12 years of age. What do you think authorities are looking for right now?
SUSAN MOSS, CHILD ADVOCATE, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, they`re certainly looking for the forensic evidence. They`re certainly looking to see if the killer left any marks when strangling the victims. Perhaps, just perhaps a fingerprint. And that`s the reason why they asked hubby Chris to come in and give his fingerprints.
Look, if this family really had a threat, he wouldn`t be going to the gym, I bet. I mean, this is such a suspicious case. Pat Brown is exactly right. This whole crime scene is just absolutely ludicrous.
The fact that there`s one open window. The fact that there was only an hour, approximately an hour between the time that dad leaves for the gym and all of the sudden the police are called for this wellness visit and the three bodies are found.
I really smell a skunk. I think the police do, too. And the fact that two little kids lost their life, that just makes it even more outrageous for the community to stand up and make sure that the killer is prosecuted to the full extent.
CASAREZ: And remember, Chris Coleman is not a suspect in this case.
But, Peter Schaffer, defense attorney out of New York, there is a killer. There was a murder here. And although prosecutors do not have to prove motive, when you look at what we know at this point, objectively, what could be the motive for killing three members of a family?
PETER SCHAFFER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the first thing you said is correct. They don`t have to prove motive. What could be the motive? Without knowing who the killer is, we don`t know. If it`s someone close and they want to get these people out of the way, then the motive is to get them out of the way to go on with their life. But we don`t know enough about this crime to say what the motive is.
CASAREZ: Pat Brown, criminal profiler out of Washington, D.C., we often see domestic things like this where there are multiple members of families that are murdered. Many times someone then kills themselves. So you have a murder-suicide situation.
How do you profile someone who would kill himself after committing this murder versus someone that would not and is out somewhere in a community?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "KILLING FOR SPORT": Right, Jean, there is definitely a difference. The person who kills himself in the suicide-murder thing, he is so distressed with his life he thinks his life`s going nowhere, he`s become nobody, he wants to commit suicide but he`s darned if he`s going to leave those other people behind to mock him.
So that`s the kind of guy that will take everybody out including himself. But the guy who wants to have a new life, perhaps a guy who has a new mistress on the side, who`s stuck with an organization who says adultery is absolutely dead wrong and you can`t even work for us, he`s got a problem.
So if he can somehow -- not saying that he did this. But if he can somehow remove those people from his life, which designates that this guy has a psychopathic personality, he can get rid of them, then he can go on. He can keep his job, he can get his new mistress, everybody feels sorry for them, he wins.
If he thinks he can get away with it, then he`ll do it. And the arrogance is often what gets them caught because they actually think they`re a lot smarter than they are and they usually don`t do such a great job of staging such a thing if that`s what they`re trying to do.
CASAREZ: To Penny in Florida. Good evening, Penny. What`s your question?
PENNY, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: My question is do we know the person of interest, if he is being watched as heavily as the husband was at first, shortly thereafter, and if this person doesn`t flee, would they go after any of this gentleman`s other family?
CASAREZ: Well, to Clark Goldband, NANCY GRACE producer, there was a lot of surveillance on the father in this case, Chris Coleman. They now are not surveilling him, they say, as they were. How would they classify this father? And has he given a statement to police?
CLARK GOLDBAND, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER, COVERING STORY: Well, Jean, we know he spoke with law enforcement one time originally when it happened, six days later called in for prints through a court order. He turned over the fingerprints. But we learned from his attorney he did not speak with law enforcement then. So, in a nutshell, that`s what`s happening.
CASAREZ: To Dr. Perper, when someone comes and speaks with law enforcement, investigators in a crime like this, where it is believed there is a suffocation, could they be looking for marks on hands, anything to show any identifiable marks of a struggle?
DR. JOSHUA PERPER, MEDICAL EXAMINER, AUTHOR OF "WHEN TO CALL THE DOCTOR": Absolutely. Because the person who is strangled might scratch the assailant. So they would look for scratches for sure beside checking the fingernails of the victim.
CASAREZ: But on the same path, Dr. Perper, if there would be just on someone, generally speaking, injuries on the chest, on the arms, of maybe scratches, by not arresting someone if you do believe you have probable cause and there is a lone suspect out there, those injuries may heal.
PERPER: That`s correct. And perhaps because of that they didn`t find those kind of telling injuries and that`s the reason why they didn`t arrest anyone of the suspects.
CASAREZ: All right. Waiting for forensics, as we have heard. Correct?
Sandy in Canada. Good evening to Canada. Hi, Sandy. What`s your question?
SANDY, CALLER FROM CANADA: Oh, hi. I was wondering, did Sheri speak to her family about any problems in the marriage or talk to her family about any affairs that she knew about?
CASAREZ: That`s a very good question. McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS Radio, did the family know anything truly about their married life?
MILHAVEN: From what I understand and from published reports we do not know. We don`t know if they knew anything about any marital problems, if she knew he had a girl on the side, if Sheri went to her mom and said we`re having marital problems, at this point we have no idea.
CASAREZ: To Nick Pistor, reporter, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch," I`ve read some things in regard to the deed of their home, that her name, the victim`s name may have been taken off in October.
NICK PISTOR, REPORTER, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, COVERING STORY: In November he took the name, her name off the deed to the house. She was removed.
CASAREZ: With her compliance? With her agreement to do that?
PISTOR: It appears that she signed and it was notarized. But our -- it`s possible that police are looking at that to see what that was all about. I had talked with her family to see if they knew anything about it, and they said they had no idea.
And I`ve talked to other people to ask hem why someone would agree to have their name taken off the house.
CASAREZ: Well, I can think of one reason. If something is near foreclosure, you would not possibly want that on your record for a bankruptcy or foreclosure action, so then you could not purchase another home in the future.
But obviously, if your name`s on the title, there could be some issues. Anything about debts within the family?
PISTOR: There seems to be very little indication that they were deeply in debt. We know that they had a family planning -- family financial planning business that was sort of biblically based in keeping with the theme of Joyce Meyer. And it doesn`t appear that they had serious financial problems.
CASAREZ: Has Chris Coleman volunteered to take a polygraph test?
PISTOR: I have no idea about that. I know that he spoke to prosecutors the first day of the murders and when he returned this past week he said nothing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONNOR: We are no longer following him. It was obvious we were following him for about a day. That was just we were concluding the investigation and we just wanted to know his whereabouts in case we needed to further the investigation with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CONNOR: Our investigation to me reveals who`s responsible for these deaths.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Major Jeff Connor, the head of the major case squad, won`t reveal who he believes killed Sheri Coleman and her two sons, Gavin and Garett. That`s because no official charges are being filed yet.
Connor says after a meeting with the Monroe County state`s attorney the prosecutor decided that any charges will have to wait until results come back from forensic evidence tests.
CONNOR: Sometimes this takes anywhere from four to six to eight weeks. It just depends on the forensics, when the reports come in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These developments came on the same day that Sheri, Gavin, and Garett were buried. Chris Coleman, Sheri`s husband and the father of the kids, was consoled by his parents at the cemetery as he stood over the casket.
Investigators have had heavy surveillance on Chris Coleman. In fact, they followed him to the cemetery. But later in the day investigators pulled back and were told Chris Coleman is no longer under surveillance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheri and the boys were incredible people. You know they`re the folks that when they walk into a room they bring a smile on everybody`s face. I`d rather have known them in my life and still go through this pain than not have known them at all.
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CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network "In Session" in for Nancy Grace tonight.
I want to go out to Dr. Perper in Florida, forensic pathologist. Why six to eight weeks to get forensic results back? They have the samples. They have to be tested. A killer`s on the loose. This could allow either more crimes to be committed or somebody to flee the jurisdiction. Why so long?
PERPER: That`s really puzzling because most of the crime lab tests shouldn`t take so long. Unless there`s some kind of chemical or toxicological test, which sometimes they can take a number of weeks.
CASAREZ: That`s right.
CASAREZ: No, go ahead, Doctor.
PERPER: And basically, really we don`t know whether there was some special test. But I just cannot -- I cannot envision what kind of criminalistic test would require six weeks.
CASAREZ: Can it be determined either forensically or through the autopsy the order of the murders?
PERPER: I don`t believe so, no. Because they were in very close proximity.
CASAREZ: Well, that.
PERPER: It`s very unlikely unless there`s some surrounding evidence which may suggest that one was done before the other.
CASAREZ: Right. Right. To Daniel Horowitz, defense attorney out of San Francisco, when I think about the order of the killings, I can see how to an attorney one way or the other it can be important.
Would you like to know the order of the killings as far as possible defense?
DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Jean, if you`re assuming that it`s the husband, then it matters. If it`s a cold-blooded killer who came in, it doesn`t matter how he did it. He`s guilty. He`s going away.
But if you`re thinking, well, was it a crime of passion, did he kill the wife in some sort of fight and then flip out and break and then kill the kids, it`s not really mitigating given how horrific this crime is. But at least you`d want to look at that as a possibility.
CASAREZ: And that`s what I was thinking about.
Susan Moss, family law attorney, who do you think the killer was after in this case, and why, if it was the wife, would they go on and murder the children?
MOSS: Well, certainly one possible explanation is that it`s the hubby. I mean, think about it this way. If you`re at the gym and your wife doesn`t answer the phone, don`t you just simply go home? The fact that he called the police and asked for a wellness visit? He wasn`t gone that long. He was only gone a little bit more than an hour.
Yet the first thing he does is call the cops rather than go home? This guy is only five or ten minutes away from home. Why didn`t he just go home? I mean, these are the questions that people are going to ask. And the fact that the police haven`t made an immediate arrest, maybe it`s because they`re not afraid that this killer is going to go after other people.
Maybe they think that this killer did the complete job and the rest of the community is safe. If that`s the theory of the police, it certainly points to the husband.
CASAREZ: But to Peter Schaffer, defense attorney, Chris Coleman is not a suspect. And if your family has gotten threats and you`re concerned about the safety of the family so much so that a surveillance camera from the city has been positioned on your home, might you not call the police when you can`t reach them?
SCHAFFER: You know, I don`t know about that so much. But let`s talk about who`s a suspect and who`s not. The police and law enforcement don`t have a duty to talk to the media. And they don`t have the duty to tell them the truth.
And sometimes a campaign of misinformation carries out law enforcement purposes. So there are jail cells and death rows full of people who were told they weren`t suspects. So we don`t know who`s a suspect and who`s not because the police aren`t saying.
CASAREZ: They are not. To Bebbie in Mississippi. Good evening, Bebbie.
DEBBIE, CALLER FROM MISSISSIPPI: Hello.
CASAREZ: Hi. What`s your question in.
DEBBIE: Well, I think part of it was answered. But I was wondering, during all this time I haven`t heard anyone say that even though the husband was not a suspect of the one that possibly -- they misspelled my name. It should be D. Debbie.
CASAREZ: Debbie. I`m sorry.
DEBBIE: That`s OK. I was just wonder if I -- if your panel or anybody of them -- I think Susan just partly answered to my question. Do they not think he`s involved? Not that he did the actual killing. But do they not think he`s involved like, you know, all the time you hear about people that they pay people money, you know, to kill them.
And I`m not saying -- if it is his mistress that did it, I`m sure he did pay her, but don`t they think he`s involved in some way?
CASAREZ: Debbie in Mississippi, I think it`s an important question. And McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS Radio, law enforcement has come out they believe that one person is involved. That doesn`t necessarily have to be the case, does it?
MILHAVEN: Well, he`s involved. Whether he is guilty or not, he`s involved. He either did it or he didn`t and somebody -- it was a payback murder or something on those.
CASAREZ: Thank you. And now "CNN HEROES."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Heroes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The things that we could do like go to the movie, we haven`t done it in quite a while. We just go to church and come home. I work for the (INAUDIBLE). We`re not poor. We`re not broke but it`s a real struggle to survive right now.
PAM KONER, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: Families who were able to make it and just get through the month are not able to make it quite the same way anymore, so food becomes the item that gets dropped at the end of the month.
My name is Pam Koner. I began an organization that links families with more to families with less. After learning about this community in Illinois that women and children were not eating the last week of the month, something moved me to come up with something to change this.
I sent a letter out to all of the families in my childcare businesses and I said, well, how about if we match families. Our original mission was to help poor rural communities. We began to expand to help families who were not in need of help before but now were in trouble.
Families purchased and send groceries or donate via PayPal. Most families are -- they`re also exchanging letters. Opening up to each other and sharing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very happy to hear from you. I did get your e- mail. Also, your wonderful package that you sent for us. This would be a great help for the entire family.
KONER: No one really know what`s going to happen tomorrow. We`re all part of a big family. We need to be there for each other.
ANNOUNCER: CNN Heroes is sponsored by.
CASAREZ: And now a look back at the stories making the rest of the headlines this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE BROOKS, FMR. DC POLICE DETECTIVE SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Law enforcement believe that this poor little girl, this beautiful little girl we`re seeing here died at the hands of her mother by suffocation.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: The prosecution is right, she just murdered her little girl and now she`s all propped up getting pampered in an ambulance? Huh- uh. Huh-uh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw them escort here. (INAUDIBLE) correctional officer in both times and then propped her to the bed. She just sit there for a couple of seconds (INAUDIBLE) talk to her (INAUDIBLE).
MARK WILLIAMS, NEWS DIRECTOR, WNDB NEWSTALK 1150: Alan Moore, who`s the public information officer here at the jail, says that never happened. The story is inconceivable.
GRACE: Who crept into the family home in the dark and early morning hours to smother and strangle the life out of a stunning young mother and her two little boys leaving them dead in their own beds?
Major Connor, why if you have a person of interest, I would assume it`s a he, why is he being kept a secret? His identity?
CONNOR: We don`t have a warrant for the arrest at this time. So we don`t feel it`d be prudent to give his name out until the state`s attorney determines whether or not there`s enough to charge him.
GRACE: Last night we reported little 4-year-old Lesley Perez taken out of her front yard. Breaking news tonight. Hidalgo, Texas, there is a God. The baby girl found alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Corporal Keith Essary from Dyersburg, Tennessee. He had a big heart. He would give you the shirt off his back. He loved motorcycles, going on rides with his father, hunting, fishing, even singing.
His favorite country star is Johnny Cash. He leaves behind parents, Chuck and Marybeth, his sisters Bethany, Taylor and Brook. Brother Randy and grandmother Anita.
Keith Essary, an American hero.
Thank you so much to all of our guests and to you at home for being with us. See you tonight -- tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, everybody.