Crime Files Network

The bodyguard, his mistress

and the mystery stalker:

man accused of killing his family

to marry his wife’s childhood friend

May 4, 2011 – 9:19AM
Killed ... Sheri, Gavin, left, and Garett Coleman.
Killed … Sheri, Gavin, left, and Garett Coleman. Photo: Screengrab


The bodyguard of a high-profile US televangelist made up a “mystery stalker” before strangling his wife and two sons, so he could marry his mistress, a court has been told.

Christopher Coleman, 34, the bodyguard of Joyce Meyer, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Sheri, 31, and his sons Garett, 11, and nine-year-old Gavin in their beds at their Waterloo home on May 5, 2009.

Local media said prosecutors told the Illinois court Coleman sent his family threatening emails from an account he set up, The Daily Mail reported.

Accused ... Christopher Coleman.Accused … Christopher Coleman. 

“Your family is done,” one email said.

Another said: “I will kill them all as they sleep.”

Prosecutors said Coleman wanted to kill his wife so he could marry his mistress, Tara Lintz, a childhood friend of his wife, without losing his $US100,000-a-year job with the outspoken Christian preacher.

Joyce MeyerHigh-profile … Joyce Meyer. Photo: 

The court heard Coleman left home at 5.43am on May 5, to go to the gym and called home after he finished working out.

When no-one answered the phone at his home, Coleman became worried and told a neighbour to go and check on them.

Mrs Coleman was found naked in bed with a ligature around her neck, while his sons were found dead in their beds, the court heard.

There was red spray paint on the little boys’ sheets and graffiti scrawled on the walls saying: “I am watching”, “punished” and “u have paid”.

A pathologist, Dr Raj Nanduri, told the court he believed the victims died between 3am and 5am that day, but admitted a time of death could not be accurately determined.

Ms Lintz also took the stand last week, saying Coleman had promised to serve divorce papers on the same day his family were found dead.

She said she and Coleman communicated “constantly” by text after they met in November 2008.

The jury were shown nude photos she and Coleman sent to each other, but Ms Lintz said she didn’t remember making a sex tape police claim to have found.

Coleman also made a video of himself masturbating, saying: “You are the only person I have ever done this for … I cannot wait to see you in Hawaii. I love you, baby.”

Joyce Meyer told the court that if Coleman’s affair had been revealed, “it could definitely have affected his job”.

She said the “excellent employee” said he wasn’t feeling well the day before the killings and she gave him the day off.

Coleman’s defence lawyer William Margulis accepted that his client was having an affair, but that the couple had been working on improving their marriage.

Mr Margulis said there was no trace of red paint found under Coleman’s fingernails and that the threatening emails could have been sent from any computer.

Coleman was also looking for a new job at the time, he said.

The trial continues.  

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