Convicted killer seeking new trial in deaths of wife, 2 sons - KMOV.com

Convicted killer seeking new trial in deaths of wife, 2 sons

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Chris Coleman next to his family (Credit: KMOV / Family) Chris Coleman next to his family (Credit: KMOV / Family)

An attorney is asking an Illinois state court to reconsider the conviction of a man serving life in prison for the 2009 killings of his wife and their two young sons.

Christopher Coleman's attorney Lloyd Cueto Jr. filed the request Tuesday. Coleman was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011 in the strangulation deaths of his wife Sherri and their 9-year-old and 11-year-old sons in their Columbia home.

Some of those who still live in the neighborhood where the murders took place, reacted to news of the appeal.

"It was a terrible, terrible thing. I can understand the man's trying to get out," said Harold Rushing.

Cueto told News 4, "In every discussion I've had with Chris Coleman, he's asserted his innocence. 

Cueto plans to ask a judge to hear evidence and testimony supporting his request for a new trial. The request is based on four uncensored naked pictures of Coleman and his lover that Cueto argues jurors shouldn't have seen. He says without them Coleman wouldn't have been convicted.

At issue is a time stamp on the back of the photos which jurors were not shown in court but noticed when they examined the photos during deliberations. In a CBS 48 Hours episode about the Coleman killings which aired in 2012, jurors said they thought Coleman was guilty but were leaning toward an acquittal because they didn't think prosecutors had proven their case.

Juror Jonece Pearman said the photo time stamp showed it had been taken a month before Coleman claimed the affair began and therefore he must be lying.

"That was something black and white in front of my face that said if he could lie about this, he's lying about everything," said Pearman.

But Cueto contends jurors are required to only consider the evidence presented in court and since the time stamp was never shown to jurors in court they were wrong to base their verdict on it. 

Coleman's former neighbors weren't swayed by the new appeal.

"My own personal opinion is that I always thought the man did it," said Rushing.

John Kelly moved in near the Colemans just 6 days before the crime. 

Kelly told News 4, "It is a little frustrating knowing that he is trying to get free."

In the appeal, Cueto makes other arguments for a new trial, including claims there was evidence defense attorneys who represented Coleman at the time, failed to present. And that the attorneys failed to try to block the prosecution's expert witnesses.

Monroe County prosecutors say they will review the brief and then are expected to file a response. A judge will decide if Coleman will get a new trial.

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