BANGOR, Maine — Final jury selection got underway Monday in the trial of a Garland man accused of strangling his girlfriend and then killing her children, age 10 and 8, in December 2014 because they were witnesses.
Keith Coleman, 29, who is charged with three counts of murder and one count of gross sexual assault, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
More than 100 potential jurors filled out written questionnaires earlier this month. About 80 Penobscot County residents appeared Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center for individual questioning with jury selection expected to be completed Tuesday.
The trial is expected to begin Wednesday morning with opening statements.
Superior Court Justice Ann Murray said earlier this year that she would see if a jury could be seated in Bangor before ruling on a defense motion for a change of venue because of pretrial publicity. Other pending motions include one to suppress Coleman’s confession to police.
Coleman was arrested Dec. 21, 2014, in Bucksport and charged in connection with the deaths of Christina Sargent, 36, her son, Duwayne Coke, 10, and her daughter, Destiny Sargent, 8.
The victims’ bodies were found about 9 p.m. Dec. 20, 2014, by concerned family members in the trailer at 12 Paul Road in Garland where Coleman lived with Sargent and her children.
Coleman has been held without bail since his arrest.
If convicted, Coleman faces between 25 years and life in prison. On the gross sexual assault charge, he faces up to $30,000 years in prison. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a defendant convicted on multiple counts of murder may be sentenced to life in prison.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.