COLEMAN MURDER CASE: May 5 takes great significance to victims’ young friend

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by John Knicely

KMOV.com

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Updated Saturday, May 5 at 12:32 PM

(KMOV) -- May 5 marks three years since Sheri Coleman and her two sons, Garrett and Gavin, were found strangled in their Columbia, Illinois home.  May 5 also marks one year since husband and father, Chris Coleman, was convicted of killing them.  That date brings mixed emotions for the Coleman boys’ best friend, Brandon Riegerix.  May 5 is his birthday and the night of the murders Chris Coleman broke his birthday tradition.

“I think Garrett and Gavin were the best friends anybody can have,” Brandon said recently.  He and his mother, Vanessa, say the Coleman boys were always a big part of Brandon’s birthday.

“May 4 would be the day before my son's birthday,” Vanessa said.  “And it was a tradition that Garrett and Gavin would stay the night (at our house).”

“Even though it was on a school night, you know, usually every birthday they would spend the night and we would take them to school,” Brandon said.

Three years ago Garrett and Gavin were at Brandon’s house on May 4th when Chris Coleman broke the tradition.

“It was just odd that he didn't let them stay,” Vanessa said.  “At 8:30 I sent them home and that was the last I seen them.”  The next morning Garrett, Gavin, and Sheri were found murdered.  “I'm very angry at (Chris).  I feel like he lied to me.  He hurt me and hurt my son.”

“It’s really hard,” Brandon said.  “Me and my mom when we drive by we think about it.”  The murders scarred Brandon’s birthday until last year when Chris Coleman was convicted of the murders on May 5th.

“When I heard the guilty verdict, I was happy,” Vanessa said.  “The death sentence would have been too easy for him.  My son said that was the best birthday gift he could have gotten.  I said we're not going to look at May 5 as a sad day anymore."
 
On Saturday Brandon will celebrate again.  He celebrates being a year older and justice for his best friends.  Their father, their killer now sits in prison.

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