Televangelist Joyce Meyer taped her trial testimony in cooperation with prosecutors preparing to try Meyer’s former bodyguard, Christopher Coleman, for the murder of his wife and two sons.
Meyer and her son, Dan, answered lawyers’ questions on Wednesday in a taped evidentiary deposition at the Monroe County Courthouse in Illinois. The head of Joyce Meyer Ministries participated in the hearing because she would not be available to testify in person at the April 25 trial. Her ministry website reveals that she is scheduled to appear in a conference tour though Texas and Virginia this entire month.
The deposition was closed to the public; but she offered some words to the media. Meyer spoke briefly with The Associated Press about her hearing. “The state’s attorney asked me to testify and I just did,” she said. “I answered the questions honestly and truthfully and I’ve cooperation fully all the way through.”
Myer also said she is praying for Coleman.
Coleman, 34, is currently being jailed without bond on first-degree murder charges in the 2009 strangulation deaths of his wife, Sheri Coleman, and their two sons, Gavin , 9, and Garrett, 11. Authorities believe that he was trying to escape his marriage so he could be with his Florida girlfriend, Tara Lintz. Coleman was reportedly earning six figures to travel around the country as Meyer’s security chief. The ministry’s no-divorce policy meant that Coleman would lose his job if he divorced his wife.
Prosecutors allege that he staged the crime scene to appear as if the killings were the work of a deranged enemy of Meyer's ministry. Investigators accuse Coleman of writing and sending himself threatening letters and emails to support his story. They also allege he spray-painted the messages "punished" and "I saw you leave, (obscenity) you, I am always watching" onto the walls of his home after the murder.
The family of the slain mother of two filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Coleman and Joyce Meyer Ministries as a "respondent in discovery,” alleging that the slayings would not have occurred if the ministry had followed its own policy and taken action. They also asserted that Meyer’s son, the ministry's chief executive in the U.S., traveled with Coleman and his mistress Lintz, and knew of the affair.
Family attorney Jack Carey said the lawsuit has been temporarily dropped until Coleman’s murder trial is completed. He said he plans to name Joyce Meyer Ministries as a co-defendant in the future case.
At the time of the May 5, 2009, slayings, Meyer was there to comfort Coleman and his remaining family. Since Coleman’s affair and potential involvement in murder deaths have come to light, Joyce Meyer Ministries has tried to cooperate. The ministry turned over 400 pages of documents related to the case.
"We have nothing to hide," said Michael King, the attorney for the Illinois-based ministry.
King also responded to the wrongful death lawsuit saying, "Joyce Meyer Ministries had no knowledge prior to these tragic deaths of an extramarital affair involving Chris Coleman. Neither did the ministry have prior knowledge that Chris Coleman allegedly was the source of threats against his family."
Meyer’s taped testimony will be played for jurors during the murder trial.