The police went up the stairs to the second floor where they found Garett, Gavin, and Sheri dead. During the interview, police noticed scratches on defendant's arm. Defendant said he obtained one set of scratches a few days earlier, but was unsure how he got them. He said he received another abrasion on his arm after hitting his arm on the gurney in the ambulance in which he was transported after his family was found dead.
Initially, defendant told the police his marriage was good, but later revealed that near the end of , he and Sheri had some problems in their marriage, which they worked out through the help of counseling. Defendant denied the affair, but after being advised investigators were talking to Tara, defendant admitted to the affair, but minimized its intensity. As part of the murder investigation, many of defendant's and Sheri's friends were interviewed.
Several friends told the police that Sheri was upset because defendant wanted a divorce. They said defendant told Sheri she was ruining his life, but he was afraid he would lose his job with JMM if he divorced her. During the interview, she revealed, inter alia, that defendant told her he planned to serve divorce papers on Sheri on May 5, , that she and defendant planned to go on a Caribbean cruise on June 14, , and that they planned a tentative wedding date of January Tara also told investigators that she had been looking at engagement rings, registering on wedding registration websites, and looking for homes in the St.
Louis area for her and defendant to live in upon their marriage, and that they had even discussed baby names. Police checked defendant's cell phone records and investigated where the calls were placed by defendant on the morning of the murders. Based upon the foregoing, defendant was charged by information on May 20, , with three counts of first-degree murder by strangulation.
United States, F. Robert Leonard. During the hearing the State presented the testimony of Dr. Leonard, and defendant presented the testimony of his own expert, Dr. Ronald Butters. After the hearing, the trial court entered the following order:. Moore is a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police whose area of expertise is handwriting analysis.
The trial court granted the motion with regard to any reference by Moore to the report of Richard Johnson, another laboratory handwriting analyst at the State Police lab in Springfield. The motion's relevancy objection was taken under advisement and reserved until the time of Moore's trial testimony. An in camera review of the many items was conducted. The State argued these items were relevant to show defendant's motive and the intensity of the affair. The trial court permitted three sexually explicit videos, with the caveat that images of breasts, buttocks, and genitalia be blacked out. There was an abundance of intimate photographs, but the State realized all would not be admitted and asked only for a limited amount, which the trial court allowed, again with the caveat that private parts be blacked out.
The State presented 11 of these witnesses during a hearing on these motions. After the hearing, the trial court ruled broadly that the statements were admissible under section — The trial court and the parties then addressed each witness's testimony, after which the trial court ruled that some of the testimony would be admitted under motive and intent exceptions to the hearsay rule, while other parts of the testimony would be excluded. In the end, the State presented the testimony of 5 of the original 13 witnesses. When Donjon arrived, Detective Barlow was on the front porch and explained that he rang the doorbell, but no one answered.
Donjon then went around the back of the house and noticed an open window with the window screen leaning against a table and patio chairs. A photograph of the scene was introduced into evidence. Donjon radioed Barlow, who was still in the front of the house, that he found an open window. After identifying themselves as the police and getting no response, they entered the house through the window.
Barlow told defendant to remain outside. Another police officer, Officer Patton, arrived on the scene. Patton came into the house to help Donjon and Barlow search it. When they failed to find anyone on the first floor, they went upstairs. Donjon testified that when he got to the top of the stairs, he looked into a bedroom to his left and saw a white female, who turned out to be Sheri Coleman, lying naked and facedown on the bed.
People's Exhibit 10, a picture of how Donjon found Sheri Coleman, was introduced into evidence. People's Exhibit 11, a picture Garett's deceased body in the bed, was introduced into evidence. Donjon testified there was spray paint in the room, which seemed to be a circle pattern. He also noticed spray paint on Garett's hand and arm. Donjon testified the skin around Garett's eyes and mouth was purple or blue.
He noticed that the skin on Garett's neck was thick and tough like it was on Sheri and that his skin was jaundiced and reddish. The officers searched the rest of the home and found no intruders. He also admitted that he had not talked to Dr. Nanduri, the pathologist who performed autopsies, or Dr. Baden, an expert who gave an opinion as to time of death, about how Sheri Coleman looked when he found her body.
He testified the officers heard defendant downstairs yelling something, so they went down and told defendant not to come upstairs. Defendant cooperated and was escorted out to the garage through the kitchen. Defendant made no attempt to go back in the house. Patton then used defendant's garage door opener to shut the garage door, so defendant could not go in the house. Patton remembered defendant saying he needed to call work.
Patton heard defendant using his cell phone to call his father.
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Patton stayed with defendant while he talked to his father. At some point a chaplain arrived and escorted defendant to the back of an ambulance.
The police canvassed the neighborhood, but found nothing suspicious. Patton testified the coroner, who has since died, arrived at a. Defendant gave him the letter, which was introduced into evidence. Deny your God publically or else! No more oppurtunities [sic ].
Time is running out for you and your family! Hutchinson noticed spray paint on the walls. He found the lifeless bodies of Sheri, Garett, and Gavin. On cross-examination, Hutchinson admitted that he did not put anything in his report about rigor mortis being present.
Huch testified that he and Hutchinson checked on Gavin. Huch grabbed Gavin's right arm to see if rigor mortis, a stiffening of the body, had set in. They found rigor mortis present. Hutchinson testified that this is an obvious sign of death, so there was no reason to perform CPR. She did a liver probe on Sheri at a. The ambient temperature in Garett's room was A core temperature of Gavin's body was not established because there were long strands of hair on his body and spray paint, and Von Nida said they wanted to preserve that evidence.
Raj Nanduri, a forensic pathologist, performed autopsies on all three of the victims. She performed an autopsy on Sheri at p. Nanduri found a ligature furrow, bruising, and abrasions around Sheri's neck. After finding the same type of ligature markings and abrasions on Garett and Gavin, Dr. Nanduri concluded all three died as a result of ligature strangulation. On cross-examination, Dr. Nanduri was aware that another pathologist had given an opinion as to time of death.
She said that in the thousands of autopsies that she had performed, she knew of no other case in which another pathologist was hired to give an opinion as to time of death.
She had not been contacted by the other pathologist to discuss the case. Nanduri testified that she gave a range of time of death of six to eight hours prior to a. The formula for deciding cause of death can be anywhere from one degree per hour of temperature drop to 2. Eight hours would have made the time of death 3 a. Nanduri testified that it would have been helpful to know the responding police officers' observations as far as rigor mortis, liver mortis, and their tactile experience in touching the bodies, but she did not have that information when she performed the autopsies.
Michael Baden, the chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police who was also the chief forensic pathologist in the late s for the United States Congress Select Committee on Assassinations that looked into the deaths of President John F.
Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, testified regarding time of death. He estimated he has performed over 20, autopsies in his 45—year career. He testified there are three cardinal ways to determine cause of death, including 1 rigor mortis, 2 lividity, which is the color of the body after death caused by the settling of blood, and 3 body temperature. He said that stomach contents can help make a determination, but only if you know when the deceased last ate.
He testified a chemical analysis of eye fluid for the purpose of finding potassium can also be of assistance in determining time of death.
Defendant was concerned something had happened to Sheri. Instead he relied on his skill and experienced-based observations. Shot and wounded Officer David Howe, age 39, after he menaced a woman with loaded revolver. On January 14, , Tindell stole a Chevy Blazer. Murdered Donald Marquez, 66, in his home in Portland during an attempted robbery.
The major case squad assigned to the instant case contacted Dr. Baden in May of for his opinion as to the time of the victims' deaths. Baden was that there were three victims. The husband and father of the victims said he left the house 1 hour and 15 minutes before the police arrived at the house and found all three dead at around a.
The police said the bodies were cold, rigor mortis was present, and there were changes in the color of the bodies, which sounded like lividity to Dr. Based upon this preliminary information provided to Dr.