Lawsuit Dismissed After Triple Murder
WATERLOO, Ill. (CN) - An Illinois judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against Joyce Meyer Ministries, stemming from a triple murder by Meyer's bodyguard.
Christopher Coleman murdered his wife, Sheri, and their sons, Garrett, 11, and Gavin, 9, in 2009.
At the time, Christopher Coleman was a bodyguard for Joyce Meyer.
Coleman was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. He was having an affair and killed his wife and sons to clear the way to be with his girlfriend.
Prosecutors said Coleman sent fake threats to his work email to make the killings appear to be the work of a phantom enemy, in retaliation for Coleman's work for the ministry.
Actually, prosecutors said, Coleman was trying to bypass a divorce that would have revealed the affair and cost him his six-figure job with the ministry.
Sheri Coleman's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Christopher Coleman, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Joyce Meyer and her husband, David, in 2011.
Sheri Coleman's family claimed that Joyce Meyer Ministries should have known that Christopher Coleman, its security chief, was behind the anonymous threats and that the ministry should have told Sheri Coleman that her husband was having an affair.
But Monroe County Circuit Judge Richard Aguirre was not persuaded.
"I cannot concede in any way how Joyce Meyer Ministries is guilty of foreseeing that an employee would kill his family," Aguirre said in dismissing the case on Wednesday.
An attorney for Sheri Coleman's family told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the family would appeal.
Joyce Meyer and her husband, David, have been dropped as individual defendants, but Christopher Coleman remains.
Christopher Coleman was not represented at the hearing, the Post-Dispatch reported.