Police say husband of murdered family has girlfriend

By Calvin Palmer

Police investigating the murder of a southwest Illinois woman and her two sons traveled to Florida last week to interview her husband’s girlfriend, a source close to the inquiry said yesterday.

Investigators have not commented on whether the relationship between Chris Coleman and the woman played any part in the murder of Sheri Coleman, 31, and sons Garret, 11, and Gavin, nine, who were found strangled in their Columbia home.

The woman in question attended high school in Largo, Florida., graduating in 1996, one year behind Sheri Weiss, a friend, who later married Coleman.

Her online profile on Classmates.com says she attended college in Tampa. Public records say she worked in a bar and as a hostess at a strip club in Tampa.

She and her husband divorced in December 2004.

Police in Largo and St Petersburg were unaware of any contact with or visits by police from Illinois.

Coleman, 32, a former Marine MP whose close family lives in Chester, Illinois, works as chief of security for Joyce Meyer Ministries — a worldwide television evangelist organization based in Jefferson County.

He has claimed he received threats targeting his family because of his work with the ministry.

Police have said they believe the victims were targeted and not chosen at random.

The bodies were found by police about 7:00 a.m. on May 5 after Coleman called, saying he was unable to reach his family by phone. He had left the house about 5:30 a.m. to work out at a gym in St. Louis County.

Police have not released the cause of death, but neighbors said detectives told them the three were strangled.

The Major Case Squad has not named Coleman as a suspect. He has been interviewed by detectives and was fingerprinted on Monday.

[Based on a report by the St Louis Post-Dispatch.]

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