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Appeal from the Circuit Court of Monroe County. No. 09-CF-50. Honorable Milton S. Wharton, Judge, presiding.
Defendant's conviction for the murders of his wife and two sons was upheld over his multiple claims of evidential error by the trial court, where the evidence presented, including the overwhelming circumstantial evidence, was sufficient to allow the jury to find defendant guilty of the three murders beyond a reasonable doubt.
For Appellant: D. Peter Wise, Gates, Wise & Schlosser, P.C., Springfield, IL.
For Appellee: Hon. Kris F. Reitz, State's Attorney, Monroe County Courthouse, Waterloo, IL; Hon. Patrick Delfino, Director, Stephen E. Norris, Deputy Director, Sharon Shanahan, Staff Attorney, Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Mt. Vernon, IL.
JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Stewart and Schwarm concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Defendant, Christopher Coleman, was charged by information with three counts of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2008)) after his wife, Sheri, and his two sons, Garett (d.o.b. 4/30/1998) and Gavin (d.o.b. 1/25/2000), were found dead in the family home. After a jury trial in the circuit court of Monroe County, defendant was convicted and sentenced to three concurrent life sentences. Defendant now appeals, raising the following seven issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in allowing the State to present the testimony of an expert linguist on the issue of authorship attribution, (2) whether the trial court erred in allowing the State to present sexually explicit photographs and videos of defendant and Tara Lintz, the woman with whom defendant was having an affair, (3) whether the trial court erred in allowing five witnesses to testify to hearsay statements attributed to Sheri Coleman regarding defendant's alleged desire to obtain a divorce and claims that Sheri was ruining his life and whether the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion for a mistrial after one of those witnesses testified that defendant beat Sheri, (4) whether the trial court erred in admitting the expert testimony of Lindell Moore in which he compared
spray-painted writings found at the murder scene to defendant's handwriting, (5) whether the trial court erred in admitting the testimony of Marcus Rogers and Kenneth Wojtowicz, who testified about Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, (6) whether the trial court erred in allowing the admission of a hardware store receipt and in allowing a witness to testify to its content, and (7) whether the evidence adduced at trial proved defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For the following reasons, we affirm.
[¶3] I. Pretrial
[¶4] At 6:43 a.m. on May 5, 2009, defendant, who was employed as director of security for Joyce Meyer Ministries (JMM), an internationally renowned Christian ministry headquartered in Missouri, called his neighbor, Detective Sergeant Justin Barlow of the Columbia police department. Defendant told Barlow he had been at the gym and after his workout he called home to try to wake up his wife, Sheri, but Sheri did not answer. Defendant was concerned something had happened to Sheri. Barlow was aware that defendant had made previous reports to the Columbia police department that he and his family had been threatened due to his employment with JMM. Sergeant Barlow went to defendant's house to check on the welfare of defendant's family. Soon another officer arrived, and after ringing the doorbell and receiving no answer, they went to the back of the house and saw a basement rear window standing open. The police entered the home through the basement window and saw disturbing messages written on the walls in red spray paint. Defendant arrived home and was told to stay outside. The police went up the stairs to the second floor where they found Garett, Gavin, and Sheri dead.
[¶5] When interviewed by the police, defendant told investigators Sheri was alive when he left the house at 5:45 a.m. to go to the gym. 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 2008, he and Sheri had some problems in their marriage, which they worked out through the help of counseling.
[¶6] The police soon discovered defendant was having an affair with Tara Lintz, a high school friend of Sheri's who was living in Florida. 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.
[¶7] Investigators went to Florida and interviewed Tara. During the interview, she revealed, inter alia, that defendant told her he planned to serve divorce papers on Sheri on May 5, 2009, that she and defendant planned to go on a Caribbean cruise on June 14, 2009, and that they planned a tentative wedding date of January 2010. 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.
[¶8] Cybercrime investigators tracked threatening emails received by defendant pertaining to his job at JMM to defendant's laptop. In threatening letters addressed to defendant, the word " opportunities" was consistently misspelled as " oppurtunities." Cybercrime investigators found several documents on defendant's computer in which the word " opportunities" is misspelled in the same manner as it was in the threatening letters.
[¶9] Medical reports, including the results of the autopsies, showed that Sheri, Garett, and Gavin were all dead before 5 a.m. 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, 2009, with three counts of first-degree murder by strangulation.
[¶10] Prior to trial, numerous motions were filed, including a motion in limine or, in the alternative, a motion for a Frye hearing ( Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923)) regarding forensic linguistic analysis. The motion set forth that discovery provided by the State indicated the State was going to " attempt to produce evidence that the defendant sent multiple threats to himself, by e-mail and letter, to produce a fictitious suspect who could be blamed for the murder[s]" and was going to " attempt to produce evidence that the defendant spray painted graffiti throughout his house, where the victims were killed." The motion went on to allege that the State had produced a curriculum vitae and a report from a purported expert in the area of forensic linguistic analysis (FLA), but that " FLA is not an accepted science" and " [t]o allow this FLA testimony under the rubric of expert testimony would be unfairly prejudicial." Defendant sought an order prohibiting any mention of FLA evidence or, in the alternative, " prohibiting the solicitation of expert testimony on the subject of FLA, or grant[ing] the [d]efendant's motion unless the State establishes the validity of the FLA testimony after a Frye Hearing." Defendant also filed a motion in limine to bar the testimony of the State's alleged FLA expert, Dr. Robert Leonard.
[¶11] The trial court granted defendant's motion for a Frye hearing. 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:
" The Court, after conducting a Frye hearing, rules that the testimony of a Linguistic Expert may be admitted to the extent of noting similarities between the questioned documents and the known documents without presenting an opinion as to authorship by a specific person, and similarities between the questioned documents themselves."
[¶12] Defendant also filed a motion in limine to bar Lindell Moore's testimony. 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.
[¶13] Defendant also filed a motion in limine to bar evidence of sexually explicit texts, emails, photographs, and videos exchanged between defendant and Tara that were seized from computers and cell phones in defendant's and Tara's possession.
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.
[¶14] Both the State and the defense filed pretrial motions and supporting documents with regard to the hearsay testimony of 13 potential witnesses who would purportedly testify to statements made by Sheri regarding defendant's alleged desire for a divorce and his frustration over the fact that he believed his family was holding him back from realizing his full potential. 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 115-10.6 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/115-10.6 (West 2010)), which provides a hearsay exception for intentional murder of a witness. 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. The trial court specifically ruled that Meegan Turnbeaugh's text message from Sheri that defendant had " beat her" should be excluded, and the State agreed that it would not offer this testimony. In the end, the State presented the testimony of 5 of the original 13 witnesses.
[¶15] II. Trial
[¶16] Jason Donjon, a Columbia police officer, testified that on the morning of May 5, 2009, he was dispatched to the Coleman residence after Detective Sergeant Justin Barlow called the station and advised that he had received a call from defendant asking the police to check on his residence. 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. They did not find anyone in the basement, so they went up the stairs, where they discovered red spray paint on the walls near the kitchen with disturbing writing, including the word " fuck" and the words " I am always watching." Photographs of the spray paintings found throughout the house were introduced into evidence.
[¶17] Donjon and Barlow heard the garage door open, which turned out to be defendant arriving home. 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. Donjon tried to find a pulse, but was unable to get one, and he noticed Sheri's " skin was tough or thick." He attempted to roll her over and noticed
that " her head, shoulder, arm, all kind of moved as though they were locked into place when [he] lifted her up." He also noticed that Sheri's chest was " kind of reddish purple deep bruising kind of color." Donjon explained that as a police officer he has investigated traffic accidents in which people have recently died and in checking for a pulse he found the skin on the deceased to be soft, " not thick or rigid when [he] moved them, never had that locking thing." He had also never seen a jaundice color or pooling of blood or bruising like he did on Sheri.
[¶18] Donjon then went into Garett's bedroom and found him dead in his bed. 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.
[¶19] Detective Barlow told Donjon that Gavin was also dead. Donjon identified People's Exhibit 12, a picture of the deceased Gavin lying in his bed with the words " Fuck You" spray-painted in red on the covers. The officers searched the rest of the home and found no intruders.
[¶20] On cross-examination, Donjon admitted he had no training in determining time of death. 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.
[¶21] Officer Patton testified similarly to Officer Donjon. He testified there was spray painting on the wall leading upstairs, and he specifically remembered " Bitch" being one of the words spray-painted on the wall. 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. Patton testified that once defendant was outside, Barlow knelt down, put his hand on defendant's shoulder, and told defendant that his family was " gone," and defendant started to cry. 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. 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 10:57 a.m., took pictures of the scene, and took body temperatures of the victims.
[¶22] Patton testified he was at the Coleman residence one other time, January 2, 2009, after the Colemans found a threatening letter in their mailbox. Defendant gave him the letter, which was introduced into evidence. It states: " Fuck You! Deny your God publically or else! No more oppurtunities [ sic ]. Time is running out for you and your family! Have a goodtime in India MOTHER FUCKER!" Patton pointed out that the word " opportunities" was misspelled in the letter.
[¶23] Gary Hutchinson, a paramedic, testified that he responded to the Coleman house and that defendant was outside crying when he arrived about 7:05 a.m. Hutchinson noticed spray paint on the walls. He found the lifeless bodies of Sheri, Garett, and Gavin. He testified that
all were cold and stiff, that rigor mortis had set in, and that in his experience, " most bodies that have rigor mortis have been down for a while." Hutchinson testified that he believed he was sent to the scene " to confirm Barlow's suspicion that [the victims] had been dead for a while." He was only at the house a short time and then transported defendant to the police station via ambulance. On cross-examination, Hutchinson admitted that he did not put anything in his report about rigor mortis being present.
[¶24] Hutchinson's partner, Jared Huch, testified similarly to Hutchinson. 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.
[¶25] Deborah Von Nida, a supervisory investigator with the coroner's office, testified she entered the Coleman residence at 11 a.m., and at 11:08 a.m., the ambient temperature in the bedroom where Sheri was found was 76.6 degrees Fahrenheit. She did a liver probe on Sheri at 11:09 a.m. and found Sheri's core temperature to be 90.4. The ambient temperature in Garett's room was 75.2 degrees, and Garett's core temperature at 11:23 a.m. was 91.8. 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.
[¶26] Dr. Raj Nanduri, a forensic pathologist, performed autopsies on all three of the victims. She performed an autopsy on Sheri at 3:20 p.m. on May 5, 2009. Dr. 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 said she had been asked to give an opinion as to the time of the victims' deaths, but she did not give a time of death, specifically stating, " Time of death is a range." She was not comfortable giving a time of death because she did not have all the findings, and in order to feel comfortable giving a time of death she would need to know other findings because " the body changes in the post mortem status, you have to have all the findings to at least come to an estimate of time of death." 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.
[¶27] On redirect examination, Dr. Nanduri testified that she gave a range of time of death of six to eight hours prior to 11:04 a.m. based only upon Sheri Coleman's body temperature at that time. The formula for deciding cause of death can be anywhere from one degree per hour of temperature drop to 2.5 degrees per hour. Eight hours would have made the time of death 3 a.m., and six hours would have made it 5 a.m. Dr. 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.
[¶28] Dr. Michael Baden, the chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police who was also the chief forensic pathologist in the late 1970s 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 20,000 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. The major case squad assigned to the instant case contacted Dr. Baden in May of 2009 for his opinion as to the time of the victims' deaths.
[¶29] Preliminary information provided to Dr. 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 7:10 a.m. 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. Baden. Based upon this preliminary information provided to Dr. Baden, he opined that all three were dead before 5:43 a.m. when the husband left the house. He said it is often difficult to establish a time of death, but in this case, " it wasn't a close call" given the only real information the police needed was whether or not the victims died before or after 5:43 a.m.
[¶30] The police then provided Dr. Baden with hundreds of crime scene and autopsy photos, police reports, and Dr. Nanduri's autopsy report. Dr. Baden testified that the crime scene photos showed that rigor mortis and lividity were present in Sheri's, Garett's, and Gavin's bodies at 11 a.m. He testified with regard to People's Exhibit 16, a picture of Gavin that shows hair that is longer and a different color than his on his body. Examinations performed on the hair showed that the longer hair was consistent with Sheri's hair, which indicated to Dr. Baden " that the mom was strangled first and that the hair was transferred, transfer evidence, probably on the ligature to Gavin's--when Gavin was strangled by the ligature." Dr. Baden estimated the ligature needed to be applied for " four or five minutes" until the brain is dead. Once the brain is dead, the heart might continue to pump, but there would be gradual diminution of ability for the heart to beat because the brain is dead.
[¶31] Dr. Baden opined that the same cord was used to strangle all three and that all three deaths occurred around the same time. He believed the murders occurred in sequence, not simultaneously, based upon the hair transfer and the fact that " the boys didn't move from the beds." Dr. Baden opined that the deaths " occurred before three AM. Definitely before five AM. But probably near to three AM." He believed " they were dead many hours before the first responders got to the scene at seven AM."
[¶32] On cross-examination, Dr. Baden admitted that different factors can push the body temperature down, including ambient temperature, skin exposure, nudity, and weight. However, he also stated that the entire total would not cause more " than a degree or two" difference. Dr. Baden explained that temperature in a body does not drop for the first three or four hours after death. It remains at 98.6 and then starts dropping, so even if Sheri's body was dropping at a rate of 1.5 degrees per hour as was indicated by the two liver probes, the time of death was before 5:43 a.m.
[¶33] Justin Barlow testified that on May 5, 2009, he was a detective for the Columbia
police department and lived catty-corner from the Coleman family. Prior to the murders, he never spoke with defendant. Defendant first approached the Columbia police on November 14, 2008, after he received a threatening email at his work. Barlow did not have any involvement with that. Officer Zach Hopkins took the call, but it was not a crime necessarily occurring in Columbia; however, the Columbia police agreed to provide extra patrols for the Coleman residence. On January 2, 2009, Officer Patton responded to the Coleman house after a threatening letter, previously set forth herein, was found in the mailbox. On April 27, 2009, defendant reported he found another threatening letter in his mailbox. That letter was introduced into evidence as People's Exhibit 25 and warns defendant " to stop traveling and to stop carrying on with this fake religious life of stealing people's money." It declares that this is the last warning and that " YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!" The police canvassed the neighborhood and stopped at Barlow's house. Barlow read the letter and thought it sounded more amplified than the first threatening letter, so he called a friend at the Illinois State Police and had a surveillance camera pointed out of his five-year-old's window toward the Colemans' mailbox. The camera was set up on April 28, 2009, and Barlow testified defendant was aware of it.
[¶34] On May 5, 2009, defendant called Barlow at 6:43 a.m. and said he was on his way home from Gold's Gym in South County, Missouri. He said he would be home in about five minutes and that he was crossing the Jefferson Barracks Bridge from Missouri into Illinois and he tried calling his wife several times to get the kids up, but she was not answering the phone and he was concerned. Barlow, who had been asleep, got up, got dressed, called the police department, and asked for a uniformed officer to meet him at the Coleman residence.
[¶35] Videotape from the camera installed in Barlow's residence shows defendant leaving the house at 5:43 a.m. It also shows Barlow arriving at defendant's house at 6:51 a.m. The videotape also shows defendant returning home at 6:56 a.m. It took defendant 13 minutes to get from the bridge where he told Barlow he was to his home. Barlow testified that trip normally takes seven minutes.
[¶36] Barlow entered the Colemans' house with Officer Donjon and testified consistently with Donjon about what they saw inside the house, including spray-painted messages and the deceased bodies of Sheri, Garett, and Gavin. Barlow testified there were no signs of forced entry into the home such as broken glass or debris on the floor where the window was open to the basement. Barlow was aware that he brought moisture into the house with him on his tennis shoes when he entered the basement.
[¶37] After they heard defendant downstairs asking what was going on, the officers went downstairs and Barlow told defendant that " they didn't make it." Defendant began to cry. Barlow recalls defendant asking him what happened, but nothing else. Defendant did not demand to see his family, nor did he try to go upstairs. Defendant went outside with the officers and sat on the sidewalk and cried, but Barlow testified no one told defendant what they actually found upstairs. Defendant remained at the scene for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until he was taken by ambulance to the police station, where a 5-hour-and-56-minute interview was conducted. A copy of the interview was played for the jury. The jury did not watch the last hour of the interview after it was determined
there was nothing of substance in that hour.
[¶38] Defendant did not ask how his family was killed. Approximately four hours into the interview, Trooper Bivens, the other officer conducting the interview besides Barlow, specifically asked defendant if he knew how his family died. Defendant replied that he did not know. During the interview, defendant asked for a jacket even though Barlow did not think the interview room was cold. At one point during the interview, officers walked out of the room and defendant picked up one of the officer's notes and looked at them.
[¶39] On cross-examination, Barlow admitted defendant provided the police with bodily and handwriting samples. Twenty-five minutes into giving the samples, defendant said he was tired of writing, so the police agreed he could stop. Defendant also gave the police the clothes he was wearing, his cell phone, and his computer and authorized the police to open his mail and search his house and car. Barlow also admitted that defendant was being treated as a suspect during the interview.
[¶40] After Barlow's testimony, defense counsel asked the trial court to revisit its ruling regarding the motion in limine concerning sexually explicit photographs and videotapes. Ultimately, the trial court pared down the exhibits even further by allowing a witness to only discuss what was on one of the three videotapes rather than view it. After hearing argument from both sides, the trial court specifically stated:
" The Court has, I believe, gone back through the items and with that stipulation believes that the State should be allowed an opportunity to present items that I believe show the intensity of the relationship and yet are not as descriptive as even some of the items that the Court had previously pared down from the larger number of photographs.
So in other words, I want the record to be certain that the Court has indeed reviewed the prejudice and the probative value of these particular items, and found that the probative value does not--is not outweighed by possible prejudice.
Again, I understand the State's frustration. There's a criticism many times voiced toward judges who change their mind, I find more of a criticism with those who won't change their mind.
I believe that the ruling that I have made, although the State may feel that it restricts them, and maybe it does to some extent, but at the same time it accomplishes the purpose of giving the State an adequate opportunity to portray the relationship as they believe the evidence supports; at the same time, it does not unduly point out the relationship to the point that it becomes something that's overbearing and over-focused on the jury."
[¶41] Officer Ken Wojtowicz, an officer with training and experience in computer forensics, including data acquisition, recovering deleted files, data recovery, and analyzing computers, then testified about explicit photographs and videos of defendant and Tara retrieved from their computers and cell phones.
[¶42] Wojtowicz analyzed defendant's Blackberry cell phone, Dell laptop computer, a Dell tower, an Apple laptop, and a thumb drive located at the Coleman residence. He also analyzed Tara's Blackberry and laptop. He found photographs on both Blackberrys and on Tara's laptop, as well as on the thumb drive. Some of the same pictures were found on multiple devices. Wojtowicz testified as to People's Exhibits 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35, which
are nonexplicit pictures of defendant and Tara found on one or both of their cell phones. He also testified about People's Exhibits 36 through 50, which are additional nonexplicit pictures of defendant and Tara found during his analysis of the different devices. He said there " were several hundred [more] images on their cellular phones." In addition, he found " several hundred" explicit photographs, depicting either defendant or Tara in the various states of nudity. The trial court only allowed four explicit photographs, People's Exhibits 26 through 29. Breasts, buttocks, and genitalia were obscured before the jury was allowed to see them.
[¶43] Wojtowicz testified that he found several videos on defendant's Dell laptop which depicted defendant and/or Tara without clothing. People's Exhibit 51 was a video of defendant naked in front of a computer, which the jury was allowed to see, except that defendant's genitalia were blacked out. People's Exhibit 52 was a video of defendant masturbating in the shower to a webcam for Tara. The trial court ordered the screen to go black when defendant actually began masturbating, but the audio was maintained. People's Exhibit 53 was another videotape which included a naked Tara in a hotel room in Hawaii. Tara's breasts, buttocks, and genitalia were blacked out. Per its earlier ruling, however, the trial court did not permit the jury to see any of this video, but allowed Wojtowicz to describe the video and play the audio.
[¶44] Wojtowicz identified People's Exhibit 54 as a note he found on defendant's laptop in the form of an email. The same note was found on defendant's Blackberry. It lists, inter alia, Tara's birthday, height, eye color, shoe size, ring size, jean size, favorite flowers, and perfume preferences, and her likes and dislikes regarding food and sports teams. Next to a notation of " Christmas" it states, " promise ring, loves, circle diamond or diamond cross." Another entry on it states, " Our daughter's name: Zoey Lynn Coleman." People's Exhibit 55 is a group exhibit of notes which were found in ...