From a body already in rigor mortis to twine that could be the garrote that killed three people, physical evidence listed in court files unsealed Wednesday gives the clearest look yet at the murder case against Christopher Coleman.

Police reported that Sheri Coleman showed signs of rigor mortis — a temporary stiffening of the body that usually does not begin until several hours after death — upon discovering her about 7 a.m. May 5. Christopher Coleman told detectives that his wife and sons Garett, 11, and Gavin, 9, were sleeping when he left for a gym workout only a little more than an hour before.

His route to Gold’s Gym, at 151 Concord Plaza in south St. Louis County, would have taken him along Interstate 255. Search warrants show that police found a length of orange twine with a knot that “resembled a noose” tied on one end along the westbound lanes, west of the Jefferson Barracks Bridge.

They also seized orange twine used to bind four bales of straw in the Colemans’ backyard.

Investigators have said the killer used some kind of ligature to strangle the victims.

The more than 20 pages of search warrant affidavits and inventories, filed in Monroe County Circuit Court in Waterloo, also outline specifics of written threats that Coleman said he had received in regard to his role as security manager for televangelist Joyce Meyer.

Police sources say they believe Coleman created the notes and spray-painted sinister, obscenity-laced messages on the walls of the house at 2854 Robert Drive to make it appear his family was the victim of a vendetta against his boss, who has a worldwide following.

Among the evidence listed is a receipt for a can of spray paint purchased July 29, 2008, at a Home Depot store. The receipt was in a travel bag containing Coleman’s wallet.

Jack Carey, a lawyer representing Sheri Coleman’s family, visited the house Tuesday and said the painted words included “punished” and “I saw you leave, (obscenity) you, I am always watching.”

Coleman had called police on Jan. 2 to complain of an anonymous threatening letter left in his mailbox. According to court documents, it said, “Deny your God publically or else! No more opportunities. Time is running out for you and your family!”

It also said, ‘Have a good time in India (obscenity).” It did not refer to anyone by name, but Meyer did a “conference tour” in Bangalore, India, from Jan. 15-18, according to a schedule posted on her website.

Sheri Coleman had traveled overseas also, doing missionary work for Joyce Meyer Ministries, based in Jefferson County.

A second threatening note, reported by Christopher Coleman on April 27, seemed to refer to Meyer but does not name her.

It said, “You have not listened to me and you have not changed your ways. I have warned you to stop traveling and stop carrying on with this fake religious life of stealing people’s money. You think you are so special to do what you do, protecting or think you are protecting her. She is a (obscenity) and not worth you doing it. Stop today or else. I know your schedule! You can’t hide from me ever. I’m always watching. I know when you leave in the morning and I know when you stay home. I saw you leave this morning.”

In addition, it said in capital letters: “THIS IS MY LAST WARNING! YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!”

Meyer visited the Coleman home to offer condolences about an hour after the bodies were discovered. She has declined through a spokesman to be interviewed about the case.

Days later, before his arrest, Coleman resigned from the ministry. A spokesman for Meyer cited an unspecified violation of a morals clause.

Items seized with search warrants included airplane boarding passes in the names of Coleman and Meyer. The documents unsealed Wednesday made no mention of a glove that law enforcement sources had previously reported recovered along I-255.

From Coleman’s 1998 Ford Explorer, police took a greeting card dated Jan. 24 and sent from St. Petersburg, Fla., to a post office box he had in Columbia. The court documents do not indicate who sent it.

Police sources have said that Coleman had been involved in a romance with a woman in Largo, Fla., who was a longtime friend of his wife. Largo is near St. Petersburg. The Largo woman has not responded to repeated messages left by reporters.

Arthur Margulis, one of Christopher Coleman’s lawyers, declined to comment on Wednesday’s public revelations.

In their filed statements, officers said they went to the house after Coleman called with concerns that nobody answered the phone there. They found a back basement window open and, with guns drawn, used it to enter the house.

Sheri Coleman, 31, was found nude, face-down on her bed in the master bedroom, the documents say. The boys were dead on their beds in their bedrooms.

Police said that Christopher Coleman arrived and yelled from outside, “What’s going on? What’s going on?” After being told, they said, he “sat down on the driveway and started crying.”

The filings indicate that Coleman had security cameras in the house, and that police seized a DVD with images made that day. But there was no explanation of what, if anything, was on it.

There was no specific mention of Coleman’s physical condition, but an inventory showed that technicians took swabs from a “reddish injury” and two “scratches” on his right forearm.

No elaboration was provided for seizure of unsigned home refinancing documents. Sheri Coleman’s family, which filed a wrongful-death suit Tuesday against Christopher Coleman, has publicly raised doubt that removal of her name in November from their joint ownership of the house was voluntary.

Also taken by police, from the SUV, was a transaction history for a Bank of America line of home equity credit.

There was no explanation for why detectives took the Dish Network satellite antenna off the roof.

Inventories showed seizure of several computers and drives, cell phones, two handguns with loaded magazines, and various shoestrings and cords.

Also listed: “Walt Disney travel tickets for Coleman family — located on computer desk in basement.”

source

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