Forensics experts discuss DNA evidence found at scene of Coleman murders

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KMOV.com

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 5:56 PM

(KMOV) – As week two of the Chris Coleman triple murder trial got underway, the prosecution spent their time Monday morning concentrating on physical evidence. Prosecuting attorneys are trying to prove that despite Chris Coleman's claims, there is no physical evidence that anyone else was in the Coleman house the day his wife, Sheri and the couple's two young sons, Garett and Gavin, were murdered.

On Monday, forensic scientists from the Illinois State Police took the stand.

Complete coverage of the Chris Coleman trial

Melody Levault, forensic lab expert with Illinois State Police, analyzed hair samples that were found at the scene of the murders. She said that long, dark strands of hair were found on Gavin Coleman's left arm and near Garett Coleman's head. Levault testified that the hair didn't belong to either of the boys, but it was consistent with Sheri Coleman's hair. The hair was 14 inches long and was artificially colored, like Sheri's.

The prosecution believes that Sheri Coleman was strangled first and her hair was still on the cord that was then used to strangle the boys. They believe that's how her hair ended up on the boys' bodies. The defense pointed out that none of Chris Coleman's hair was found on any of the bodies. 

Michael Brown, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police, examined nail clippings from the Coleman family. Brown said that male DNA "consistent with Chris Coleman" was found on Sheri's right hand. He cautioned the jury not to read too much into the DNA evidence. Brown said that what was found under Sheri Coleman's fingernails could have been skin cells passed from casual contact between two people that live together. No blood was found under Sheri Coleman's fingernails.
Brown also tested nail clippings from Garett, Gavin and Chris Coleman. He testified that he found nothing that did not return to one of the four members of the Coleman family, meaning that no "strange" or outside DNA was found. Brown said that all of the DNA evidence found at the murder scene belonged to members of the Coleman family.
The defense asked if one of Coleman's brothers would have DNA similar to Chris. Brown said, "Yes. But unless they are identical twins, the markers would not match."
Thomas Gamboe, a forensic scientist with Illinois State Police, also took the stand on Monday morning. Gamboe is an expert in analyzing footprints. He examined shoe impressions that were left on the hardwood floor near the front door and the rear window that was found open at the Coleman house on the day of the murders.
Gamboe testified that the only footprints that were found inside the home were from the police officers who were called to investigate the scene. The prosecution is expected to argue that this is further evidence that no strangers entered the home. Chris Coleman claims that an intruder came in the back window of his home and murdered his family.
Coleman has contended he rushed home from the gym the morning of the murders because he tried calling, but couldn't reach his family. Monday afternoon an AT&T Network Director testified about the calls made by Coleman that morning. James Kientzy said one of Coleman's calls on his return home hit a cell tower North on I-255, which suggests he passed up Rt. 3 to give police extra time to get to the scene. It took him 15 minutes to get home after a call placed on the JB Bridge, a drive that should only take 5 minutes.
Defense contends that cell phone towers cannot definitively place a caller's location, and that mistakes happen.
Ken Wojtowicz ,of the Granite City Police Department, is a computer technician who testified Monday. There were a total of 7 emails sent from a destroychris@gmail.com account. The tech says a subpoena sent to Google proves the gmail account and all 7 of the emails were linked to IP (internet protocol) addresses on Coleman's Dell laptop, provided my Joyce Meyer Ministries.
 
Here's an example:
 
Date: November 14th, 2008
From: Destroychris@gmail.com
To:  Chris Coleman, Dan Meyer, Joyce Meyer, Dave Meyer
 
If Joyce doesn't quit preaching the bull****, Chris's family will die. During the Houston Conference I will kill them all while they sleep.
- - - -END - - -
 
The defense tried to argue that someone else could have logged on remotely and sent the emails. They provided no evidence and the technician said it was unlikely since no program can remotely power on a computer that requires a wireless card to connect to the internet.
 
A paint expert is expected to testify and a handwriting analyst is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
The prosecution could wrap up their arguments as early as Tuesday.

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