By Calvin Palmer
An angry crowd of some 25 people gathered outside Monroe County courtroom in southwest Illinois this morning and jeered as murder suspect Christopher Coleman was led in.
Coleman, 32, of Columbiapleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sheri Coleman, 31, and his two sons 11-year-old Garet and nine-year-old Gavin. All three were found dead in their home on May 5.
Visiting judge Stephen Rice set a preliminary hearing for June 10.
Coleman’s attorney, William Margulis, refused to discuss anything relating to a possible death penalty.
“My client, Mr. Coleman, maintains his innocence and we’ll play this out,” Margulis said.
He told reporters he would likely seek to move the trial out of Monroe County.
Coleman was arrested last night at his parents’ home in Chester, about 40 miles from Columbia.
After the arrest, Maj Jeff Connor of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis said all three victims had been strangled with some type of wire, rope or cord.
When Coleman was led back to be returned to the Monroe County Jail, onlookers continued their taunts. One shouted, “Hell’s too good for you.”