Triple-slaying suspect says he's too poor

Thursday, September 3, 2009 | 2:15 p.m. CDT; updated 3:20 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009

WATERLOO, Ill.— A southwestern Illinois man accused of strangling his wife and their two sons says he's too poor to pay for his own attorneys and wants help from a state fund for use in death-penalty cases.

A judge could decide as early as Friday whether 32-year-old Christopher Coleman is as indigent as he claims.

Coleman remains jailed without bond and has pleaded not guilty to charges he strangled his wife and sons, ages 11 and 9, in May in their Columbia, Ill., home.

An affidavit filed on Coleman's behalf suggests his home mortgage is $45,000 more than the structure is worth, and that Coleman has just $1,000 in assets.

Monroe County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. A court ruling that Coleman is indigent would allow him to access the Illinois Capital Litigation Fund.

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