Matthew Taylor Coleman, the California surf instructor who allegedly said that his belief in QAnon drove him to murder his two children last month and leave their bodies in a field in Mexico, could face the death penalty in San Diego federal court, according to a new indictment filed Wednesday.
A grand jury indicted Coleman, 40, on two counts of murdering his two-year-old son Kaleo and his 10-month-old daughter Roxy, according to a copy of the indictment, which was filed in federal court in San Diego. The prosecutor’s office in the Southern District of California alleges that he murdered his children “deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and malice aforethought.” Federal prosecutors in California’s Central District filed charges against him last month, but that case will be dismissed.
“There are no words to describe the profound grief that envelops an entire community when a child is murdered,” Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement. “The Department of Justice is determined to achieve justice for these victims and their loved ones.”
The two new charges carry the maximum penalty of the death sentence or life in prison. Prosecutors have not decided how they will prosecute the case, according to a press release from Grossman’s office.
Coleman had been expected to enter a plea on Thursday afternoon in federal court in Los Angeles. The current case will be dismissed and Grossman’s office will take over the case as a time not yet determined, according to a statement.
According to an affidavit filed in Los Angeles federal court last month, Coleman abducted his children in his Mercedes Sprinter van on August 7 before driving them to a ranch outside Rosarito, in Baja California, where he murdered them. His wife had called the police because she said he had taken the children without a car seat, though surveillance photos later reveal that the youngest was strapped into one.
According to the FBI, he admitted to killing his children because they had “serpent DNA.” He was apprehended returning to the U.S. at the San Ysidro checkpoint by Border Patrol. “Coleman stated that he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them,” according to a previous criminal complaint. He later said he knew it was wrong but he killed them to save the world.
Friends and neighbors tell Rolling Stone that, in recent years, Coleman had been increasingly withdrawn, hopping from church to church. He was known around Santa Barbara for leading Lovewater, a surfing school that taught children, and had seen business boom during the pandemic, according to friends.
Coleman’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.