Jason Coatney, the attorney for James Sigman and Jennifer Tomaszewski, listens to special prosecutor Don Trotter speak during an October 2018 hearing.

The attorney for Texas County’s embattled former sheriff said in court Tuesday morning video evidence critical to the case has been recovered.

Defense attorney Jason Coatney told Judge John Beger the Midwest Crime Information Center in Springfield retrieved video footage from a server that had been removed by James Sigman when he was sheriff. Because of the development, Coatney filed a motion to delay the quo warranto trial set for April 3-4 in Phelps County to oust Sigman. It was granted.

Sigman and Jennifer Tomaszewski, a former employee who is identified as his girlfriend in court documents, face multiple charges for alleged criminal actions with the Texas County Sheriff’s Department. They include: first-degree felony assault, first-degree robbery, felony first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, felony unlawful use of a weapon, felony harassment, felony endangering the welfare of a child, second degree; misdemeanor misuse of official information by a public servant and misdemeanor false impersonation. Sigman was charged again in October on a felony forgery charge. Tomaszewski was charged with two counts of forgery in December.

The contents of the video on the server were the center of sometimes heated dialogue between Coatney and special prosecutor Don Trotter during a hearing in October. Trotter was not present in court Tuesday.

Coatney said the server was removed by Sigman as an “act of transparency to protect his department as allegations arose.” Coatney said Sigman gave the hard drive to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, which later transferred it to the MCIC. Coatney said the server was replaced by Texas County for $2,500.

Trotter filed a motion in the fall – granted by Beger – to retrieve evidence from the hard drive. He expressed doubts at the time that it would be helpful in the case. “It’s my understanding it only goes back 30 days, which makes it probably useless to everybody,” Trotter said. “However, we don’t know until we see.”

Sheriff, chief deputy charged

The booking photos of Texas County Sheriff James Sigman, left and Chief Deputy Jennifer Tomaszewski.

Coatney told Beger on Tuesday the video was retrieved, although he did not specify how many days it covered. He said he was having four hard drives – two for the state and two for the defense – delivered to MCIC to make copies of the server’s content. He asked Beger for at least 30 days to duplicate the hard drive and analyze it.

The case will be heard again April 16 during Beger’s law day.


In August, Coatney alleged police misconduct against Sigman and requested that all the charges against his client be dropped. He released spliced video footage to the media that he claimed showed felony tampering by members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol while executing a May 29 search warrant at the Texas County Sheriff’s Department. Coatney also alleged the jail nurse illegally removed the file of a former inmate who is central to the case.

Trotter asked the court for access to the entire nine hours of video footage of the search warrant as well as the nurse’s office. He said he only had access to the snippets that were spliced together by Coatney, who received the original videos from Sigman.

Allegations in James Sigman case

A still frame of video footage May 29 inside the medical office in the Texas County Sheriff’s Department as the Missouri State Highway Patrol conducted a search warrant. James Sigman, the former sheriff, is at the center of the frame.

“Right now the video is spliced and misses a lot of stuff that is being claimed,” Trotter said during the October hearing. “They are claiming a lot of bad actions took place, but the video doesn’t show those actions.”

The videos could also contain footage of an alleged assault of the former inmate that led to assault charges in the case.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply