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Pr. George's murder convict Coleman offers explanation in letter to reporter

Ruben Castaneda

Before a Prince George's County jury convicted him in December of second-degree murder in the killing of his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Joseph N. Coleman spent more than 14 hours explaining his actions surrounding the death.

He's still trying to explain himself.

After Donna M. Brown, 39, died in his Forestville condominium in October 2008, Coleman spent more than 10 hours talking to county police homicide detectives, saying he struck Brown only after she attacked him.

During his trial in December -- and in various pre-trial hearings -- Coleman testified at length, claiming he struck Brown, 39, in self-defense and did not intend to kill her.
When he testified at his trial, his own defense attorneys twice objected to statements Coleman made.

When he was sentenced on Feb. 5, Coleman spoke for about 75 minutes; during much of that time, Coleman, 45, once again detailed his version of the events that led to Brown's death.

Now incarcerated in the Upper Marlboro jail, Coleman has still more to say. This week I received a five-page handwritten letter from Coleman that -- beyond inviting me to visit him at the jail to discuss his actions on the night Brown died -- read, in part:

I do not want the public Mr. Castanedar to think or you to think that I beat and killed my girlfriend Donna Marie Brown like some crazy man because the situation wasn't like that at all sir.

("Castanedar" is part of my Washington Post e-mail address.)

In lengthy sentences, Coleman wrote -- as he testified at his trial -- that Brown attacked him while he was sitting at his computer. He wrote that he hit her in the face by accident before she hit him in the face with an ashtray.

He wrote that Brown bit down on his finger, so he grabbed her under her chin. He wrote that he wrestled her to the ground. Coleman wrote that he ran to the nearby home of his foster mother, and found Brown's body when he returned the next morning.

He acknowledges in the letter than when he wrestled Brown to the floor, "I think she Hit the back of Her Head and [died] from Head injuries."

-- Ruben Castaneda

By Ruben Castaneda  |  February 18, 2010; 6:25 AM ET
Categories:  Pr. George's , Ruben Castaneda , Updates  
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Sounds like he has a case for an appeal, but what does he want the reporter to do?

Posted by: ENJOYA | February 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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