WATERLOO, Ill. (AP/KMOV) -- A man convicted in Monroe County of strangling his wife and their two sons will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Circuit Judge Milton Wharton sentenced Christopher Coleman on Monday to three life terms to be served simultaneously, acknowledging that a state law that takes effect July 1 will eliminate the death penalty in Illinois.
Complete coverage of Coleman trial
Wharton says Coleman's time will be better spent in self-reflection in prison.
During the proceedings, Chris Coleman waived his right to let the jury decide his sentence. On Friday, the jury decided that Coleman is eligible for the death penalty.
The jury was dismissed Monday morning and the judge told them they were allowed to leave. The members of the jury decided to stay to hear the outcome.
The prosecution team spent about five minutes making closing arguments. The defense, spoke for about 25 minutes on behalf of Coleman.
Coleman was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder last week in the May 2009 slayings of wife, Sheri Coleman, and their 9- and 11-year-old boys in the couple's southwestern Illinois home.
Coleman is a former Marine and pastor's son. Prosecutors say he killed his family in order to advance a love affair and protect his job working for a televangelist.