Curtis Lovelace: “To say that I murdered the mother of my children, it’s horrible”
Produced by Alec Sirken, Josh Gelman and Chris O’Connell
[This story previously aired on March 18, 2017. It was updated on Aug. 11, 2018]
QUINCY, Ill. –For Curtis Lovelace and his family, Feb. 14, 2006, may seem like a long time ago. But, for the second time in two years, the husband and children of Cory Lovelace are about to relive those difficult days after she died. This time is in a different courthouse, in a different city:
“The defendant’s first wife, Cory Lovelace, was suffocated… That will be our medical evidence,” Prosecutor David Robinson told jurors in his opening statements. “The way I describe circumstantial evidence is as follows … I like to look at it as pebbles in a mosaic. …And you’re gonna step away from that mosaic … and you know what it’s gonna say? Murder.”
“Opening statements are about what the evidence is gonna show. The State had an opportunity to explain to you what evidence they have that Curt Lovelace murdered his wife Cory Lovelace. And they didn’t present it. Because there is none,” defense attorney Jon Loevy told the court. “In the age of supposed fake news, this is a fake case and there are fake witnesses… No evidence of any homicide.”
But first you need to know how this all got started.
It’s Friday night in Quincy, Illinois, and thousands have come out to cheer for the home team. Local journalist Bob Gough swaps his keyboard for a microphone and moonlights as an announcer.
“If you’re a local sports star, you know people are always wanting to know about you,” he said.
And at Quincy High in the 1980s, there was no bigger star than Blue Devil’s Hall-of-Famer Curtis Lovelace, both on the field and in the classroom.
“Curtis Lovelace was a very hard working kid, smart kid,” said Gough.
The University of Illinois gave Lovelace, No. 54, a scholarship to play football.
But he wasn’t just any player. Lovelace, a business administration major, was considered one of the top offensive linemen in the Big Ten — a team captain who lead the “Fighting Illini” to the conference championship his senior year.
“He even got a look in free-agent camp in the NFL with the Patriots,” Gough explained. “Had a bad knee injury, which, not sure if he woulda made it or not, but that certainly didn’t help the situation. But being a smart kid, Curtis already had other goals in mind.”
While still in college, Curtis started a long distance relationship with high school classmate Cory Didriksen, who was studying communications at the University of Iowa.
“She just had a perfect smile,” Cory’s mother, Marty Didriksen, told CBS affiliate KHQA. “And she just smiled at everyone. And she just did stuff.”
“Cory was vibrant, dynamic. A little bit of stubbornness, and she was a pistol and I loved her for that,” said friend Steve Belko.
Belko, Beth Dobrzynski and Bret Schrader grew up with Cory and Curtis in Quincy.
“Curt was easygoing he was a gentleman, fun loving, intelligent – a gentlemen,” said Belko.
“Do you think they were well matched?” “48 Hours” correspondent Maureen Maher asked the group of friends.
“I did. I did. Well, they looked great together, but they had a lot of similarities and they seemed to have fun together,” Dobrzynski replied.
In 1991, just one year after graduation, they were married. Belko was Curt’s best man and Dobrzynski was Cory’s bridesmaid.
“It was one of the best days, you know, in our lives,” said Belko.
“They were very happy. The pictures you know, you could see on their faces,” Dobrzynski reminisced. “It was a magical night.”
With Cory by his side, Curtis Lovelace had grand plans. He attended law school and eventually became an assistant state’s attorney in the city they both loved, Quincy.
“What did Cory want to do with her life? … What were her dreams?” Maher asked Dobrzynski.
“Cory was all about family,” she replied. “She wanted the big family. …the happy marriage, you know, being involved in Quincy.”
Cory’s dream came true in 1993, when their first child, Lyndsay, was born, and continued with the addition of three sons: Logan, Lincoln, and Larson.
“She was a loving person. I grew up — she was involved, head room mother, PTA, always there at our games, dance recitals, everything– our number one cheerleader, said Lyndsay, who is now in her 20s.
“Do you have a fondest memory of her?” Maher asked.
“I would say dancing to ABBA in the kitchen. She always played ABBA and we always sang along and twirling around and it was just special and I still listen because it’s everything to me,” she replied, laughing.
In 2005, while still at the state’s attorney’s office, he started his own law firm. And, as if he wasn’t busy enough, Lovelace was elected president of the school board, became a captain in the Illinois National Guard, and an adjunct professor at Quincy University.
“… big man on campus. And he always kind of had that air about him,” said Gough.
“Was he arrogant?” Maher asked.
“He became arrogant more and more, yes,” Belko replied. “There was a little bit of holier than thou. …Maybe you were entitled to this living. I think he lost friends over time because of that.”
The situation at home was changing, as well. Curtis’ working long hours away from Cory and the kids was taking a toll on their personal life.
“They fought. At a young age … I thought it was normal,” Lyndsay explained. “But then growing up later on after she was gone, I realized that it wasn’t normal.”
Neighbors around the Lovelace house on Kentucky Street say that in the months leading up to her death, they had heard loud and contentious arguments between Cory and Curtis. By many accounts, both were heavy drinkers. And in this small community, it was known that at times there was a tremendous amount of turmoil in their home.
Her family acknowledges Cory was suffering with an eating disorder — bulimia.
“I knew that — she wasn’t taking care of herself. I was aware of the – bulimia. … the binging and the … purging late in the day,” Curtis told Maher.
“Cory — Cory was an alcoholic. And — unfortunately– so much of alcoholism, all of alcoholism is – is — is not– is not pretty. It’s — it’s — it’s ugly. And … it brings out, oftentimes, the worst in — in people. And– it was something that she– she struggled with,” said Curtis Lovelace.
“You said you drank. Would you describe yourself as an alcoholic?” Maher asked.
“I do describe my — myself as an alcoholic,” Curtis replied.
Was Cory’s death the result of her alcohol abuse or was it murder? It was a question that would go unanswered for almost eight years — until a rookie detective would take a new look at this old case.
A NEW LOOK AT THE CASE
In 2014, Adam Gibson, as a newly promoted detective, decided to take a look at file on a case he was always curious about: the death of Cory Lovelace eight years earlier — a death ruled as “undetermined.”
“And I was at the office … just reading old case files, and the Lovelace case popped into my head,” he said. “After seein’ the photos, that’s when I went to the chief and asked him if — if I could take a look at it again.”
The photos of Cory’s body show her arms slightly elevated above her chest.
“That didn’t really make sense, and there was no explanation for ’em,” said Det. Gibson.
In re-opening the case, Gibson first consulted Adams County Coroner James Keller, who was deputy coroner in 2006, when he was called to the Lovelace house the morning of February 14.
“Upon entering the — the bedroom, I notice the — female lying on the bed on her back– with her hands kind of in an upright position.” Keller explained.
“A body always tells a story the way you find them,” he continued.
“What is the story that Cory’s body was telling you?” Maher asked.
“That she had passed earlier that prior evening or day,” said Keller.
Detective Gibson contacted Dr. Jane Turner, an assistant medical examiner in St. Louis, who agreed with Keller’s assessment that Cory’s body had stiffened — a condition called “rigor mortis,” which only happens over an extended period of time.
“In my report, I stated 10 to 12 hours. Rigor mortis develops maximally at 12 hours,” said Turner.
And it was the position of Cory’s arms that led Dr. Turner to the theory that Cory had been suffocated.
“What did you determine would have caused the suffocation?” Maher asked Dr. Turner.
“Well, with the position of the hands, it suggests that there was an object between her hands and her body. And it appears that there is a pillow missing,” she replied. “So I suppose that a pillow was used to suffocate her.”
Turner theorized that the pillow had not been removed until much later, after Cory’s arms had frozen around it — that her dead body had laid in bed all night.
Gibson and Turner’s theory of murder was a very different account than the one Curtis Lovelace gave police. Curtis says it all started the weekend before Valentine’s Day.
“She had become ill, she appeared to have the have the flu,” Curtis told Maher.
Lyndsay remembers comforting her mom, while watching the 2006 Winter Olympics together in the days leading up to Cory’s death.
“We laid in bed, having fun watching that. And it was just special ’cause it was me and her,” she said.
But Curtis insists Cory was very much alive Valentine’s morning.
“The vivid memory is — is her coming down. One of the ch — one of the kids needed — a pair of pants,” he said.
“…she wasn’t feelin’ any better. And we made the decision that — I would take the kids to school,” said Curtis.
Four-year-old Larson stayed home while Curtis dropped off the other kids. Larson would later tell police that on that morning he couldn’t wake mommy up. Frightened, he waited at the top of the stairs for his dad. By 9 a.m., Curtis had returned, and that’s when he found Cory dead in their bed.
“What was your reaction?” Maher asked Curtis.
“Just utter shock. In fact — I’m — I’m not even sure how I reacted. I know what I did.” he replied.
Oddly, Curtis did not react by calling 911.
“What I saw was someone who didn’t need help. I just saw my wife who had passed away,” he said.
Curtis Lovelace says, at that moment, his main concern was to get his youngest child, Larson, out of the house. At trial, Cory’s mother, Marty Didriksen, testifies that Curtis brought him over to her house, which was just around the corner:
MARTY DIDRIKSEN: Sometime after 9 … Curtis knocks on the door and he asks if I would watch Larson, so I take Larson and he turns and he says, “Oh by the way Cory’s dead.”
PROSECUTOR PARKINSON: Then what did Mr. Lovelace do?
MARTY DIDRIKSEN: He turned to leave and I’m trying to think [becomes emotional]. I think I remember the fact that I said “I wanna go” and he said “everything’s been taken care of” and left.
PROSECUTOR PARKINSON: Did he stay there and explain to you what he knew?
MARTY DIDRIKSEN: No, no.
“Did you have anything to do with the death of your wife, Cory?” Maher asked.
“I did not,” Curtis replied.
But Detective Gibson wasn’t buying it. His investigation would lead to an indictment, an arrest, and Curtis Lovelace’s first trial — 10 years after his wife’s death.
Cory and Curtis Lovelace: How their story unfolded
A stay-at-home mother in the small town of Quincy, Illinois, turns up dead the morning of Valentine’s Day 2006 — eight years later, her husband …
“To not only be called a murderer, but to say that I murdered the mother of my children, it’s horrible. This is a prosecution that should have never been brought. There never should have been an indictment,” Curtis told Maher.
The jury deadlocked, unable to decide if Cory was murdered.
Curtis Lovelace was out of jail, but for how long? One year later, there was a new trial, a new jury, but the same question: did Cory die from alcohol abuse or something more sinister?
The second trial would be the culmination of events that began 11 years ago that Valentine’s Day morning.
The grim details of that morning would also be embedded in the minds of those who were there. EMT Cole Miller was among the first on the scene.
“She was laying in the bed and her arms were drawn up by her chest,” Miller explained, holding up his arms to show how Cory’s were positioned. “And I went in there to check for signs of life, checked her carotid pulse in her neck, and then checked her wrist and saw that it was cold and stiff.”
Jeff Baird was the lead detective in the case in 2006:
DEFENSE ATTORNEY JON LOEVY: You determined that this investigation should be closed because there was no evidence of foul play?
JEFF BAIRD: That is what we determined.
Defense Attorney Jon Loevy asks him to describe the scene:
JON LOEVY: Did you find anything whatsoever that seemed consistent with any kind of struggle?
JEFF BAIRD: No.
JON LOEVY: Did you find any evidence of a homicide?
JEFF BAIRD: No —
The autopsy also found no signs of a homicide. Adams County pathologist Jessica Bowman ruled the cause of death as “undetermined.”
PROSECUTOR: Were you surprised it came back undetermined?
JEFF BAIRD: I think it was unexpected. And I was expecting to see a death from natural causes related to a health condition.
Baird also didn’t expect to see, on the day he discovered Cory, the condition of her hands and arms:
JEFF BAIRD: Her arms were up in an unnatural position. … Her hands and arms from the elbow to the hand were leaning or resting against her abdomen and appeared to be up.
It is this strange position of Cory’s arms that would become a critical and controversial piece of this case.
JEFF BAIRD: There was mild rigor in one of her arms, there was moderate rigor in the other. Rigor was also forming in her legs.
JON LOEVY: Let’s be real clear—were her arms still pliable?
JEFF BAIRD: Yes.
JON LOEVY: Tell the jury what pliable means.
JEFF BAIRD: We could move them.
The defense argues, if Cory’s arms were pliable, it would indicate she could have died that morning. And that’s in direct contrast to James Keller’s testimony.
“The — body was in a full state of rigor — rigor mortis,” Keller said on the stand.
However long Cory Lovelace had been dead, to Keller, it certainly appeared that medical rigor mortis had set in.
“The state of rigor mortis to get in that position– generally, the rule of thumb of anywhere from eight to 12 hours,” Keller explained.
“Did it make any sense to you that they were saying it was that morning?” Maher asked.
“It did not,” Keller replied. “It just didn’t seem to add up.”
Two days after Cory’s death, her body was cremated and the case was closed. A 38-year-old woman was suddenly dead for seemingly no apparent reason.
“We assumed that — that her — her eating disorder, that her alcoholism — somehow caused her death. And whether it was checked undetermined — or natural death really wasn’t something that we were concerned about,” Curtis told Maher.
“And life went on?” Maher asked reporter Bob Gough.
“Yeah,” he replied.
In fact, six months later, life did move on. Curtis met his second wife, Erika Gomez.
Gomez would become an explosive figure in his second trial, with riveting testimony.
“She was banned from the first trial,” KHQA reporter Jenny Dreasler told Maher. “She’s the biggest difference in this case. A lotta people saying that she was the missing puzzle piece to why we’re even here to begin with.”
A SECOND TRIAL
After his wife, Cory, mysteriously passed away in 2006, it took Curtis Lovelace less than six months to find love again, this time with one of his students at Quincy University, Erika Gomez.
“I remember my dad coming up to me and — saying, ‘Hey, just so you know, I’ve been seeing this woman,” said Lyndsay Lovelace.
“And what was your reaction?” Maher asked.
“I was shocked, but couldn’t process it at the same time because what 12-year-old’s gonna process a parent dating especially so quickly after the loss?” Lyndsay replied.
“Looking back, it was, I think, properly characterized as — as a rebound relationship. I — I regret starting the relationship and…” said Curtis Lovelace.
“Were you lonely?” Maher asked.
“Absolutely,” he replied.
Two years later, Curtis and Erika were married.
“And what was your relationship like with Erika?” Maher asked Lyndsay.
“Not good at all. I — for some reason, there was some hatred towards my mom … like she was public enemy number one. So I would tell her to stop. Like, ‘It’s not fair,'” Lyndsay explained. “And then I would get punished for that.”
Asked by whom, Lyndsay said, “By Erika. And what scared me more was that my dad would sit there and watch it.”
It didn’t take long for things to go from bad to much worse.
“It was Christmas Eve and … my mom’s side of the family … had invited … all of us to come, for a family dinner. …Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday,” Lyndsay explained. “And I was crying … because I missed her and I wanted her there. And all of a sudden … Erika walks in and says, ‘We’re leaving now.’ And I’m like, ‘Give me a second to calm down.'”
“So I … go to walk out the door, find out that my dad, Erika, the boys and my — stepsister had left,” Lyndsay continued. “Erika had left her purse — at the house and my family was not happy with them leaving me. …So she came back to get it and my family wouldn’t let her in. And that set off a bomb.”
A bomb that blew her family apart.
“And it — it blew up to the point where– when I returned home that evening — Miss Gomez was throwing Lyndsay’s stuff outta the house,” said Curtis.
“My clothes were in the street. …My room is completely trashed,” Lyndsay continued. “I knew my life was never going to be normal ever again.”
“And that’s when you moved in with your mom’s mom?” Maher asked.
“Yeah,” said Lyndsay.
Lovelace and Gomez divorced in 2013.
“I decided that it — I had made — a poor decision. And tried to end that relationship as peacefully and as amicably as possible. Unfortunately, it just didn’t — didn’t end as peacefully and amicably as it — as it should have,” said Curtis.
On the stand, in front of the jury, Erika Gomez gave the courtroom a sample of her “explosive” personality, hurling a variety of accusations against Lovelace:
” He threatened me, he controlled me…He is physically abusive to me.…I watched him get rid of evidence. I’ve … watched him use his children to get rid of evidence. …He used my Social Security number to try and steal money out of my account.…He sexually assaulted me,” Gomez told the court.
“Did you have any concern that they would buy into what she was saying?” Maher asked Curtis.
“I didn’t have that concern, because I knew … they were lies,” he replied.
ERIKA GOMEZ: He was poisoning me. My hair was falling out. There were white lines on my fingers. I was extremely sick. I had to…
JON LOEVY: Did — you were aware, Miss Gomez, that you were not supposed to mention that because there was no evidence to support it?
ERIKA GOMEZ: You brought it up.
While Gomez was a witness for the prosecution, ultimately her testimony may have done more for the defense.
“May 2012 is the first time he attacked me,” Gomez testified. “He ripped my shirt and he tried to grab me again … and I kept on trying to fight him off.”
“The children were called down to stop me from calling the police,” Gomez continued on the stand, crying hysterically.
Also in the courtroom, Curtis Lovelace’s third wife, Christine Lovelace, who, like Cory, Curtis knew from Quincy High. They were married in 2013, just months after his divorce from Gomez.
“I had a hard time believing that the prosecution actually wanted to put her on the stand,” Christine told Maher. “The behavior was so outlandish. The accusations were so outlandish. The fake tears.”
“So you felt that the jury would have zero credibility with her?” Maher asked.
“Absolutely,” Christine replied.
On the stand for the prosecution was Detective Adam Gibson, who would have to defend his credibility and explain just how he found an expert to support his belief that Cory was murdered.
PROSECUTOR ROBINSON: It’s been implied that you did some doctor shopping?
DET. GIBSON: Yes.
PROSECUTOR ROBINSON: Do you think that’s what you did?
DET. GIBSON: Absolutely not.
Remember, Dr. Jane Turner sided with Det. Gibson. After studying the evidence, she believed that Cory had died the night before police arrived.
DR. TURNER ON STAND: Given the circumstances in which her body was found and the altered scene, it appears she did die of homicide from suffocation.
A logical conclusion, except for the fact that when questioned by Quincy Police, the Lovelace children — all except Larson — said they saw their mother alive on the stairs before going off to school the morning Gibson believed Cory was already dead.
“When Adam Gibson came to speak to you and he asked you, ‘Do you remember?’ you told him that you did. You remembered seeing her that morning?” Maher asked Lyndsay.
“Uh, huh,” she affirmed.
JON LOEVY: And you came to believe that the children were wrong, correct?
DET. GIBSON: I — I didn’t say they were wrong. …I don’t know what they saw.
And maybe, neither did they.
“I had had a story in my head of I saw her sittin’ on the stairs, waving to us, ‘Goodbye. I love you,’ left. And I always said, ‘Oh, it was great. I got to say, “I love you,”‘” said Lyndsay.
“Do you remember seeing your mother that Valentine’s Day morning?” Maher asked.
“It’s a black hole,” Lyndsay replied.
“You don’t know?”
“No,” said Lyndsay.
“How certain are you now that Curtis Lovelace murdered his wife, Cory?” Maher asked Det. Gibson.
“I’m 100 percent certain,” he replied.
But defense attorney Jon Loevy was about to challenge everything Det. Adam Gibson believed about the death of Cory Lovelace.
“Adam Gibson decided to create a crime where one didn’t exist,” Curtis told Maher.
BATTLE OF THE EXPERTS
Prosecutor Ed Parkinson brings in three forensic pathologists to prove Detective Gibson’s theory that Cory was murdered.
From world-renowned Dr. Werner Spitz: “Ms. Lovelace died in my view of suffocation,” he told the court.
To Dr. Scott Denton, the pathologist first consulted when the case was reopened. “I would determine her cause of death to be suffocation,” Dr. Denton testified.
And finally, Dr. Jane Turner, the out-of-state expert who also believes Cory was suffocated. Defense attorney Jon Loevy tries to discredit Dr. Turner, saying she never saw Cory’s body and her opinion that Cory’s body was in full rigor mortis conflicts with the first responders on the scene.
JON LOEVY: For you to be right Jeff Baird has to be wrong about his assessment, right?
DR. TURNER: Yes.
JON LOEVY: For you to be right paramedic Ballard has to be wrong about his assessment that the arm was still pliable. Correct?
DR. TURNER: Yes.
If Cory Lovelace’s body was pliable, as the defense claims, full rigor mortis had not set in and she didn’t die the night before.
And when Coroner Keller is cross-examined, Loevy belittles his role in the case:
JON LOEVY: You were at the scene of Cory’s death for all of five minutes. Correct, sir?
CORONER JAMES KELLER: Probably, yes sir.
Loevy came down hardest on Detective Gibson.
JON LOEVY: You continued to pursue Mr. Lovelace, right? …Because you had already decided that this man must be guilty.
DET. GIBSON: No.
He grills Gibson about rigor mortis:
JON LOEVY: At what point did you learn that you were wrong that the body was in full rigor at the scene?
DET. GIBSON: I don’t know to this day that I’m wrong.
Then, a new twist: Loevy accuses Gibson of withholding evidence — emails that never made it into the first trial:
JON LOEVY: You did delete all your emails in January 2016, did you not?
DET. GIBSON: Yes.
The defense was able to recover those emails. Loevy reads one email from a pathologist who told Gibson he could never make a good murder case since Cory’s death had originally been ruled undetermined.
“‘That is more than reasonable doubt in any reasonable person’s mind,'” Lovey read aloud from the pathologiost’s email.
JON LOEVY: This email should’ve been turned over, right?
DET. GIBSON: I– I believe so. It should, yes.
JON LOEVY: You didn’t turn it over, did you?
DET. GIBSON: I did not.
But Gibson testified that he never engaged in any intentional wrongdoing.
PROSECUTOR DAVID ROBINSON: And have you ever intentionally deleted or modified emails to manipulate an investigation?
DET. GIBSON: No.
Loevy calls to the stand his own noted pathologist, Dr. William Oliver — who was on the O.J. Simpson case. Dr. Oliver had no doubt how Cory died.
“It is my opinion that she died of the complication of alcohol withdrawal known as acute fatty liver,” he testified.
After a battle of the experts, the defense gambles that the most believable witness might be the accused killer himself.
“As I approached the bed, I could see her hands, I could see her eyes were open, and she was very pale and there was just —nothing there. Cory was dead. That’s what I saw, that’s what I saw,” Curtis Lovelace told the court.
“I told them multiple times I had nothing to do with Cory’s death,” he testified.
JON LOEVY: Being accused of a cold-blooded murder, that reduces your likability factor, correct?
CURTIS LOVELACE: (EMOTIONAL) A little bit.
JON LOEVY: Do you feel like everything you say, every decision you make ,is now being picked over and being twisted unfairly.
CURTIS LOVELACE: We have been doing this for two-and-a-half years.
And it was remembering the time right after Cory died—that Curtis became most emotional.
CURTIS LOVELACE [EMOTIONAL]: …one of our high school classmates who was a pastor, he’s the one that — that delivered the eulogy. I wrote it, but I couldn’t deliver it.
All three Lovelace boys continue to support their father. The two oldest testify they saw their mother that Valentine’s morning.
“I remember getting ready for school walking back and forth getting stuff done sitting on the stairs with my mother and heading out the door,” Lincoln Lovelace told the court.
JON LOEVY: How confident are you, though, from your memory itself, that you saw your mother alive that morning?
LOGAN LOVELACE: One-hundred percent.
JON LOEVY: Was this the last time you ever saw your mother alive?
LOGAN LOVELACE: Yes.
Their sister, Lyndsay, was not called to testify by either side.
As the trial goes to final arguments …
“Beyond reasonable doubt, ladies and gentlemen, is the standard… beyond reasonable doubt doesn’t mean probably, doesn’t mean maybe. Beyond a reasonable doubt,” Loevy addressed jurors.
“”Cause really what the case is about is that lady, Cory. That’s who the case is about. She died at the age of 38 because a 6’4″ former football player standing over her muffled her and forgot to take the pillow away,” Parkinson told the court.
…the question is whether any jury can sort out what exactly happened that Valentine’s Day morning.
“Do you think we’ll ever know what happened with your mom?” Maher asked Lyndsay Lovelace.
“No. If a verdict comes out this round, it comes out. I don’t think we’ll ever fully know,” she said.
All murder trials have their clashes between the prosecution and defense, but the spats between Ed Parkinson and Jon Leovy were more contentious.
“I would like to know who’s coming like you bastards,” Parkinson said to Loevy.
“Ed … act like you’re winning . Pretend that you’re doing OK,” Loevy told Parkinson.
“I’ve objected to his antics. I’ve told him to shut up. I don’t like him,” said Parkinson.
After seven days of testimony in Curtis Lovelace’s second murder trial, the jury continues hearing closing arguments”
“So here we are. What has the state shown? Cory died from suffocation and he did it!” Prosecutor David Robinson told the court. “He had a motive … she was an alcoholic, she yelled at him, she yelled at the kids and that night he had enough … the state asks you to find Curtis Lovelace guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“There is no evidence in this case that this woman was smothered. She died a natural death,” Loevy told the court. “They have no murder weapon no forensic evidence … he went out trying to prove a case when there was no crime.”
“This is a rebuttal … its not gonna take long. Because he committed a stupid crime, this Mr. Smart man here,” Parkinson told jurors. “And you can do your job now because the only thing that makes sense here is that she was suffocated. Thank you.”
And with that the jury began their deliberations.
“I believe in everything we did — every step that we took. It was a search for the truth,” Curtis Lovelace told Maureen Maher.
Then, in little more than two hours, all parties were called back to the courthouse. And unlike in the first trial, this time the jury had reached a verdict.
“We were prepared — in our minds, in our heart, for — for whatever the verdict was,” said Curtis.
“OK. So this time, at least you know there’s going to be an answer,” Maher noted.
“We know there’s gonna be an answer,” Christine Lovelace said. “But still, knowing that 12 people have our fate and our future and our children’s future in their hands is scary.”
The verdict: “The jury finds the defendant Curtis Lovelace not guilty.”
More than 10 years after Cory died, and two trials accusing him for the murder of his wife, Curtis Lovelace, surrounded by his three sons, walks out of the courtroom a free man.
“We put our trust in God, and — and we put our trust in the legal system, and we weren’t let down. And so it’s a — great day for our family — a great day– for all of our friends, and we’re just thankful,” Curtis told reporters, flanked by his family and lawyers.
“Curt had absolutely nothing to do with his wife’s death, and the jury saw that,” said Loevy.
Prosecutor Ed Parkinson, is clearly upset by the quick decision
“Disappointed. But,” he said, clearing his throat, “but the jury has spoken. So that’s the end of it.”
But just days after the verdict, Curtis Lovelace told “48 Hours” that he and Christine have a lot of questions about Det. Adam Gibson’s investigation.
“Clearly, I don’t appreciate what he’s done to — to me and my family. And — whatever happens with Adam Gibson happens with Adam Gibson. You know, there’s truth and — and I believe the truth will come out,” said Curtis.
“You intend to pursue how and why this all happened,” Maher commented.
“I think those are questions we want answered,” Curtis replied.
The family remains deeply divided by the legal saga now behind them, Curtis, Christine and the three boys have not spoken to Lyndsay since the day Curtis was arrested in 2014.
“I don’t think by our choice,” Christine said. “We were advised not to engage in a relationship with people who were possibly against Curt.”
“So do you see a day when everyone is together?” Maher asked.
“We talk about it often,” Christine replied.
“Is that on the docket of things to do?” Maher asked Curtis.
“You know, I think we — we’d all like to see reconciliation. I’m just not sure how that happens,” he replied. “I’m sure it’s gonna be difficult.”
For now, Lyndsay says she is working to move forward with her own life, inspired by her mother’s memory.
“My mom was a beautiful person. She touched so many people … She was passionate,” Lyndsay said. “But … that’s the kinda person she was and that’s the kinda person I try to be.”
Christine Lovelace adopted Curtis’ three sons; Lyndsay was already 18 years old.
Curtis Lovelace filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Quincy police and Adams county officials. He claims he was denied due process and constitutional rights and was the subject of malicious prosecution.
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