The Chief, the Scotsman, the Swindler, and the Killer

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Other possible forged signatures surfaced during the investigation. At one point, Terrie Sickels McMillan tried to have a car title switched from her husband's name into hers using a questionable signature. She said in a later deposition that she had signed her husband's name.

In November 1988, a bankruptcy petition had been filed for Terrie Sickels McMillan and her husband. The bankruptcy filing showed that the McMillans were filing without an attorney. The signature lines where Milano should have signed bear signatures that do not look the same as his known signatures on other legal documents. Rather, the bankruptcy signatures bear a striking resemblance to the Milano signature forged on the Great West life insurance policy.

Milano says he did not know about the bankruptcy filing, and that his signature was forged. The bankruptcy case later languished and was dismissed.

Police investigators theorized that Milano's wife and Coleman were arranging Milano's financial affairs to their benefit, should Milano suffer an untimely demise.

Glen Bourque, an associate of Coleman, gave police a sworn statement saying that, a few weeks before his death, Coleman broached the subject of having Milano killed. Bourque said Coleman offered $25,000 for the job. Coleman, Bourque's statement says, was scared of Milano. "He asked me if I would consider taking Matthew out before Matthew took him out," the man's statement says.

Another police interview unearthed stories of a suspicious man who had been seen meeting with Coleman several times before his death. In a sworn statement, another associate of Coleman told police Coleman was "desperate" because Milano "was not his friend anymore."

Coleman, the associate says, met several times with a black man who drove cars with tinted windows. "I thought Glen was meeting the black man probably to do something no good to [Milano] because Glen was desperate probably," the associate's statement to police says.

The man recorded the license plate of one of the cars driven by the unknown man. That plate number led police to a convicted armed robber who became their prime suspect in the killing. In September of 1989, eight months after Coleman's killing, the man was arrested by Dallas police for driving with no rear license plate. Tucked in his waistband was a .45-caliber handgun that had been enhanced with a 16-bullet clip.

When they learned of the arrest, DeSoto investigators immediately asked for the gun and sent it over to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. There, a firearms expert compared the gun with the bullets that had killed Coleman, but the results were inconclusive. The institute's report concluded that the weapon "could neither be identified nor eliminated" as the murder weapon.

Thereafter, the case stalled. One reason was that the witness who had supposedly seen Coleman meeting with the hit man was an undocumented worker who would risk deportation if he testified in the case. The suspected hit man was never charged in the case, and police believe he is still in the Dallas area.

But at least Milano was in the clear. "I didn't do it," Milano says. "I'm not going to tell you that if I had known what he was planning, I wouldn't have done it. The chances are I would have. But they'd never have found his ass. I've told the police that."

After Coleman's murder, and while Milano was being held in jail for the killing, Terrie Sickels McMillan filed for divorce, citing cruel treatment as the grounds.

A bitter custody dispute ensued after Milano was released from jail, during which Terrie Sickels McMillan accused her husband of sexually molesting the couple's daughter on one occasion. The alleged abuse had not been reported to police or Child Protective Services when it supposedly occurred. During the divorce, a family court counselor who interviewed the daughter and both parents concluded that "the sexual abuse allegations do not seem to have significant validity and may be more the result of increasing hostility in this divorce-custody matter."

The same September 1989 report of the family court counselor also warned that deciding custody matters in the divorce case could become difficult since Milano had been cleared of murder, but his wife was a suspect in an ongoing investigation. DeSoto police, the report says, confirmed that Milano "has been cleared of all charges."

"However," the report continues, "other evidence has apparently come to light during the investigation which directs suspicion on Mrs. McMillan. The DeSoto Police assert that they are pursuing an active investigation on the mother and maternal grandmother for conspiracy to murder the father."

The divorce was finally granted in April 1990. By then, the DeSoto police investigation into Coleman's murder had stalled with no charges brought against either the supposed killer or Milano's ex-wife.

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David Pasztor

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