WATERLOO, Ill. (AP/KMOV) -- Prosecutors opened the trial of a man accused of strangling his wife and two sons by telling jurors the defendant spent months setting up the crime with threatening messages sent from his own work computer.
Monroe County State's Attorney Kris Reitz says the case will be a complicated one for jurors, involving as many as 40 witnesses. And Reitz contends the evidence will show Christopher Coleman lied when he insisted he was working out at the gym when his family was killed in their Columbia home in May 2009.
Seven witnesses were called to the stand Monday, including Sherri Coleman's mother. Most witnesses so far have been police officers or coroners.
Prosecutors are trying to establish the fact that all of the victims were dead for awhile before police arrived on the scene.
Some family members of the victims left the courtroom after the judge warned the crime scene photos were graphic.
Chris Coleman put his head in his hands when prosecutors first showed the crime scene photos. At one point he wiped tears from his eyes.
On the stand police said Chris Coleman made no attempt to go upstairs after he was told his family was dead.
In his opening statement Monday, defense attorney Bill Margulis asked jurors to keep an open mind and said they'll find plenty of reasonable doubt about the prosecution's case.
Coleman has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed without bond.
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