Produced by Alec Sirken, Marc Goldbaum, Paul LaRosa, Chris Young Ritzen, James Stolz and Aimee deSimone.
It’s Friday night in Quincy, Illinois, and thousands have come out to cheer for the home team.
“The Quincy High School Blue Devils is a revered, legendary program. One of the winningest programs in high school history,” said local journalist Bob Gough, who swaps his keyboard for a microphone and moonlights as the announcer.
“If you’re a local sports star, you know people are always wanting to know about you,” he said.
And no one was bigger than Blue Devil’s Hall of Famer Curtis Lovelace. In the 1980s, he made headlines as a star athlete and scholar at Quincy High School.
“Curtis Lovelace was a very hard working kid, smart kid,” said Gough.
And the University of Illinois gave Lovelace - #54 -- a scholarship to play football.
“I mean Quincy, Illinois, doesn’t produce a ton of All-Big Ten players,” Gough noted.
He wasn’t just any player. Lovelace, who studied business administration, was considered one of the top offensive linemen in the Big Ten -- a team captain who lead the University of Illinois to the Big Ten Championship his senior year.
“Was two-time All-Big Ten, even got a look in free agent camp in the NFL,” 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 at school, Curtis started a long distance relationship with Cory Didriksen. They met in high school, but only started dating when they left for college. She 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. I think that was her most endearing quality,” 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? 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.
It didn’t take long before their relationship became serious.
“It was Thanksgiving. We were sitting up on her bed. And we were just kinda talking about things and she said, ‘Oh, by the way, I’ve met the man I’m going to marry,’” said Didriksen.
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.
“Cory was beautiful. It was a great night. They were very happy. The pictures you know, you could see on their faces. Whether it was cutting the cake or dancing or walking around and talking to people. It was a magical night,” Dobrzynski reminisced.
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 had a great childhood growing up,” she replied. “She wanted the big family. ...The happy marriage.”
That dream came true in 1993, when their first child, Lyndsay, was born. They would later have three sons: Logan, Lincoln, and Larson.
“She was a beautiful person,” Lyndsay Lovelace said of her mother.
Lyndsay, now 22, told KHQA reporter Jenny Dreasler how she and her mother loved listening to the music group ABBA.
“We would just have girl moments and just dance around and sing ‘Dancing Queen.’ I still listen to them because it brings me so much joy from that,” she said.
Lyndsay’s dad was a man on the move. In 2005, he opened up his own law firm while still at the state’s attorney’s office. Years later, he left to concentrate on his own practice. And, if his schedule wasn’t busy enough, Lovelace was elected president of the school board. He became a captain in the Illinois National Guard, and an adjunct professor at Quincy University.
“He definitely was a pillar of this community, no question about it,” Gough remarked.
But friends say with power, came ego.
“I just felt he kinda started to talk down to me more and more each time I saw him,” said Schrader.
“Was he arrogant?” Maher asked.
“He became arrogant more and more, yes,” Belko said. “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 had also been changing. While Curtis had spent years focused on his professional life, the long hours away from Cory and the kids were starting to take a toll on their personal life.
“From what we learned now, and he eventually admitted, they had a volatile relationship,” said Gough.
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.
“She suffered from bulimia. This is something her family has admitted,” Dreasler said. “And the rumors started coming out. ...Known alcoholism. The community knew that too. There’ve been people who’ve even told me ... I saw her out drinking here or out drinking there. People knew that she had an alcohol problem, but I don’t think that they knew to the extent.”
Amazingly, Curtis and Cory managed to keep their problems from their closest friends, like Belko, who years before, had moved away from their small town.
“Was there a point in time where any of you started to see things changing between the two of them?” Maher asked the friends.
“No,” said Belko.
“No indication that there was trouble coming up?” Maher asked.
“I never had any,” Belko replied.
“Cory was a great person, very confident, she had everything under control. And she wasn’t one to you know whine or complain,” Dobrzynski said. “She could handle it.”
But everything fell apart on Valentine’s Day 2006, when Belko got a call from Curtis’s father that Cory had died.
“He said, ‘Listen I got some bad news.’ ...And I just couldn’t believe it. No, that doesn’t happen. She’s my age. She’s healthy. This just doesn’t come from nowhere,” Belko said. “Something’s wrong. There was no doubt something is terribly wrong.”
VALENTINE’S DAY MYSTERY
On Feb. 14, 2006, love was in the crisp winter air of Quincy, Illinois. At 1869 Kentucky, it was a school day and Cory Lovelace would usually have her hands full.
“Cory was a stay at home mom,” Gough explained. “She was always hustling, always trying to get the kids wrangled around and to where they needed to be.”
That morning seemed like so many others. According to Curtis Lovelace, Cory helped get the kids ready. They had breakfast and jumped in dad’s car. It was 8:15 a.m.
“Curtis then took the three oldest children to school,” Gough said. “They left the youngest, the 4-year-old, there.”
And little 4-year-old Larson went upstairs to see his mom.
“Went in and he said that he said her name and he thought he poked her. But she didn’t answer,” Dreasler explained. “So he ... sat and waited for his dad to get home.”
“Then when he got back, the youngest was still there ... said something that he couldn’t wake his mom up,” said Gough.
By then, it was about 9 a.m.
“Curt went upstairs to use the restroom and glanced back in the bedroom and saw something wasn’t right. Went in to see Cory, tried to shake her. And nothing,” said Belko.
That was the moment a normal Valentine’s Day morning turned into a mystery. Behavior turned suddenly strange, starting with Curtis Lovelace.
“Took the youngest to Cory’s mother’s house. Gave the youngest child to Cory’s mother and said, ‘Cory’s dead’ and left,” Gough said. “The first call was not to 911. The first call was not to the paramedics. The first call was his boss, the state’s attorney.”
“Still strikes you as odd,” Maher noted.
“Very much so,” said Gough.
“Who walks over to their mother-in-law’s house, gives them their youngest ... and says, ‘Your daughter’s dead, here’s my child. Take care of him,’” Maher commented.
“The whole scenario was bizarre,” said Gough.
Was Curtis Lovelace in shock?
“People do process grief differently, sure. If it was my wife, I think I’d have called 911 screaming and ranting and trying to perform CPR, which he didn’t do,” said Gough.
The grim details of the day would be embedded in the minds of those who were there. E.M.T Cole Miller was among the first on the scene.
“She was laying in the bed and her arms were drawn up by her chest,” he 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.”
“It was just surreal,” said Dobrzynski.
“When I did find out I was very shocked,” said Schrader.
What happened in the house that morning, when it happened -- just how long Cory Lovelace had been dead -- would be questions that would haunt a town and destroy a family.
“She’d been dead long enough that there was no need to start CPR. It wouldn’t do any good,” said Miller.
Quincy Police Detective Jeff Baird would not speak to “48 Hours.” But that day he did speak with Curtis, who told his version of events -- a morning Curtis swears to police and to friends, Cory was still very much alive.
“What did he say happened?” Maher asked Steve Belko.
“That Cory had been ill the night before ... had thrown up and wanted some Tylenol and he got her some,” he explained. “Apparently she did come down to help. He told me he just remembers her at the bottom of the steps, they walked out and he took the kids to school.”
According to Curtis, his wife Cory was not feeling well that Valentine’s Day morning. She came down the stairs and sat down for a while. Detective Baird said that three of the children also told him they saw their mother alive that morning.
“He interviewed the three oldest children. Those interviews were not recorded, video or audio. He just took notes and then turned in a report in which he spoke to the three oldest children individually, without their father being there. And they all told him they had seen their mother that morning,” said Gough.
Why is the time Cory Lovelace died so critical? Ask a man who deals in death for a living, Deputy Coroner James Keller. That Valentine’s Day morning, he was there to transport Cory’s body.
“Upon entering the bedroom, I notice the female lying on the bed on her back with her hands kind of in an upright position,” Keller explained.
“Can you show me?” Maher asked.
“Hands kind of above her,” he said, holding his arms up, elbows bent, in front of his chest. “Kind of this direction here ... a very odd position.”
However long Cory Lovelace had been dead, to Keller it certainly appeared that medical rigor mortis had set in -- a process he says usually takes close to 12 hours.
“She was in the state of full rigor,” said Keller.
“Full rigor?” Maher asked.
“Full rigor,” he affirmed.
“Almost like a mannequin?” Maher asked.
Keller was told that Cory saw the kids off to school, handing one a Valentine’s class project. And someone on the scene told Keller Cory Lovelace had died in the morning.
Keller’s response to that was, “What day?”
“Did it make any sense to you that they were saying it was that morning?” Maher asked.
“It did not,” Keller said. “It just didn’t seem to add up.”
Over the years, James Keller has learned one undeniable truth of his trade: the dead do speak.
“A body always tells a story the way you find them,” he said.
“What is the story that Cory’s body was telling you?” Maher asked.
“That she had passed earlier that prior evening or day,” Keller replied.
“Ten to 12 hours earlier, possibly?”
“Correct. Yes ma’am,” Keller affirmed.
But that medical assessment of time of death wasn’t matching what Curtis and the kids were saying -- that Cory has been alive that morning.
“It was just not what she was telling. It was just not what she was saying,” said Keller.
“Did you tell anybody about that afterwards and as the inquisition went on?” Maher asked.
“There’s numerous people ... the coroner Gary Hamilton,” he replied. “... everybody had some reservations, maybe concerns.”
James Keller was a deputy coroner at the time, second to sitting coroner Gary Hamilton, who was also at the Lovelace home. An autopsy, including toxicology test, was conducted the day after Cory was found dead, and Hamilton signed off. The cause of death was “undetermined.”
“Well ‘undetermined’ ... if you don’t have a cause ... leaving it ‘undetermined’ was the right thing to do,” said Keller.
Despite the odd position of Cory’s arms and despite an unexplained cut on her lip, two days later, at her mother’s request, Cory Lovelace was cremated and Quincy police officially closed the investigation.
“And life went on?” Maher asked Gough.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Nobody cared to look deeper?”
Eight years would pass, and then a curious cop followed a hunch.
“You had a detective in the Quincy Police Department, Adam Gibson,” Gough explained.
“And lookin’ at the photos ... and with -- with Cory’s body bein’ in that condition, it just -- it just didn’t make sense to me,” said Det. Gibson.
A FRESH LOOK AT THE CASE
Within six months after the mysterious death of his wife, Cory, on Valentine’s Day 2006, Curtis Lovelace rekindled his love life and began dating a student in a class he taught at Quincy University. The woman, named Erica, was eight years his junior. They married two years later, but she and his then-14-year-old daughter, Lyndsay, didn’t get along. Lyndsay became estranged from her father.
“Lyndsay, apparently, didn’t have a place in that family. Why, I don’t know,” said Steve Belko.
Lyndsay then moved out of her father’s house and in with her grandmother Marty Didriksen, Cory’s mom.
“Curt chose his second wife over his daughter,” said Belko.
Marriage number two fell apart in 2013.
But once again, Curtis Lovelace didn’t stay single for long. He got married for a third time months after his divorce in 2013, this time to his current wife, Christine, whom he had known in high school and reconnected with years later.
“He is a funny, charming, sweet, kind, compassionate, wonderful husband,” she told “48 Hours.” “We’re actually best friends.”
While the end of 2013 marked a new beginning for Curtis and Christine ...
“We’d go on dates not typical of romantic date nights -- eat fried chicken, go across the bridge to Missouri, have hot fudge sundaes with extra cherries,” she said.
... it was around that same time that a newly-promoted detective at the Quincy Police Department, Adam Gibson, took a fresh look at Cory’s death.
“Sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see things,” said Det. Gibson.
“And I was at the office ... just reading old case files, and the Lovelace case popped into my head,” he said.
The more Det. Gibson read about the 8-year-old case, the more he was intrigued.
“What in that file made you say, ‘Huh, I’m gonna go find the pictures and the hard copy of this file?” Maureen Maher asked the detective.
“Just the general description of the position of her hands,” he replied.
“And when you saw the pictures, what was your first reaction?”
“It did not appear to me that could’ve been a natural death,” said Det. Gibson.
The pictures show Cory’s body in bed - lifeless, but with her arms bent at the elbows and bizarrely frozen in the air.
“That didn’t really make sense, and there was no real explanation for ‘em,” said Det. Gibson.
Gibson consulted King County Coroner James Keller, who was the deputy coroner in 2006.
“It bothered me for years,” said Keller.
“So when you found out that Detective Gibson was moving forward, what was your reaction?” Maher asked.
“I think it -- it is definitely time to open,” Keller replied.
Detective Gibson kept investigating the old case secretly, out of the public eye. He consulted the original pathologist, Dr. Jessica Bowman, who had ruled the death “undetermined.” Bowman told Gibson she would no longer participate in the case, but sent him for another opinion to another pathologist she knew in Chicago, Dr. Shaku Teas.
“She said basically that she saw nothing suspicious about the death,” Det. Gibson said of Dr. Tea’s ruling.
“So why wasn’t that the end of it for you? I mean, you have Dr. Bowman who says undetermined, you have now Dr. Shaku Teas, who is accredited and is telling you, ‘look it’s undetermined, I don’t see a problem with it,’” Maher asked the detective.
“Because I didn’t believe that the information that Dr. Teas had given was credible to what I already knew,” he replied.
So Det. Gibson sought yet another opinion. Enter Dr. Jane Turner, an assistant medical examiner in St. Louis.
“What do you remember as the first thing that struck you about that file? Was there anything in there that you looked at and said, ‘Well, that’s interesting,’” Maher asked Dr. Turner.
“Yes. It was the scene photographs ... the presence of rigor mortis and the position of the hands is unusual ... the hands weren’t resting on a surface. They were almost suspended in air, which tells me that there was ... an object that had been there previously that had been removed,” she replied.
“Could you show me, put ... my arms in the position that you saw Cory Lovelace’s body in while she was laying down still in the bed?” Maher asked Dr. Turner.
“So she was on her back. And her arms were like this. A little bit lower than that,” she replied, positioning Maher’s arms, as shown in the photo above.
“And-- if they were stuck in this position, they’re in rigor-- what does that tell you at that point?” Maher asked.
“Well, that more time has passed than the witness stated,” Dr. Turner replied.
The witness being Curtis Lovelace, who said he had talked to his wife less than an hour before finding her dead.
“In my report, I stated 10 to 12 hours. Rigor mortis develops maximally at 12 hours. And with her arms in that position, which -- with the -- the emergency responders coming in, they were still in that position, suggests to me that she was in full rigor,” said Dr. Turner.
Based on the photos, the autopsy report and police reports, Dr. Turner pinpointed the cause of death: suffocation at the hands of another.
“What did you determine would have caused the suffocation?” Maher asked.
“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,” Dr. Turner replied. “So I suppose that a pillow was used to suffocate her.”
While Det. Gibson had a new timeline and a cause of death, he also had one big problem. Remember, the three oldest Lovelace children insisted they saw their mother alive that morning, sitting on the stairs.
“The one thing I do know is, the science of Cory Lovelace doesn’t match that story,” said Gibson.
Gibson believes the children may have simply been mistaken. Maybe that’s because they weren’t interviewed by the original detective, Jeff Baird, until two days after their mother’s death. But if Curtis Lovelace did kill his wife the night before, as Dr. Turner believes, what was his motive?
“Was there a life insurance policy,” Maher ask Gough.
“...he said there was no life insurance,” he replied.
“Was he having an affair?”
“I have not heard that,” said Gough.
“So what’s the motive? What does he gain?” Maher asked.
“...he told one of the witnesses that their last 90 days of their marriage hadn’t been good,” Gough replied.
“People fight and argue all the time,” Maher noted to Det. Gibson.
“That’s true,” he said.
“How did it lead to murder in this situation?” Maher asked.
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Det. Gibson replied.
“A new detective ... found a doctor to give him the answer he was looking for. There’s not one bit of evidence ... that Cory ... was murdered,” said Christine Lovelace.
“How certain are you now that Curtis Lovelace murdered his wife, Cory?”
“I’m 100 percent certain. The science tells me that,” said Det. Gibson.
A BATTLE OF EXPERTS
In August 2014, eight years after the death of Cory Lovelace, Curtis Lovelace was leaving his law office at lunchtime when police confronted him - and arrested him for his wife’s murder.
“Nobody had any idea that this was, this was happening. None of the local media,” said KHQA reporter Jenny Dreasler.
“The same day as a grand jury indictment comes down, he’s arrested in broad daylight, cuffed and stuffed right outside his law office and taken down to booking,” said local journalist Bob Gough.
“A good friend who works for a news station in Quincy, he texted me ... said ‘Christine, Curt’s been arrested for Cory’s murder,’” Christine Lovelace told “48 Hours.” “I said,’that makes no sense, Cory was not murdered.’”
“There was nothing to prepare us for this, it was probably worst day of my life,” she said.
The former golden boy would spend the next 17 months in jail, held on $5 million bond.
“I was a little stunned,” friend Steve Belko said. “He looked old, haggard. Something I’d never seen before.”
Curtis Lovelace pleaded not guilty, awaiting his trial until just over three weeks ago.
A decade after Cory Lovelace’s death, the murder trial of her husband was about to begin at the Adams County Courthouse. After hearing all the evidence, it may come down to just one question for the jury: Do they believe Cory’s children, who say they saw their mother alive that morning? Or do they believe two medical examiners who insist the science says she was killed the night before?
Some of the jurors who would decide Curtis’ fate spoke with “48 Hours.”
“And by show of hands, how many of you knew Curtis Lovelace and his family or knew of them prior to this?” Maher asked the group. Four of the six jurors raised their hands. “OK, so a majority of who are here.”
“Is it the trial of century in Quincy?” Maher asked Gough. “Yes,” he replied.
“And why is that, just because of who he is?”
“Yes. Absolutely,” Gough replied. “I mean, bigger they come, the harder they fall.”
Quincy was consumed with this trial on social media and in the coffee shops.
“I don’ think the case should’ve been brought to start with ... all they got is circumstantial evidence, no smoking guns,” a resident told “48 Hours.”
The prosecution laid out its dramatic case -- that Curtis Lovelace smothered his wife, Cory, the mother of his four children, with a pillow the night before Valentine’s Day.
Jurors heard from world-renowned pathologist Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Jane Turner. They both testified that Cory had to have died the night before.
“It’s the whole picture -- she had drying artifact of her lips. She had drying artifact of her eyes. Again, something that develops with the passage of time after death,” Dr. Turner told Maher. “Rigor mortis develops maximally at 12 hours. And with her arms in that position ... suggests to me that she was in full rigor.”
The prosecution uses Dr. Turner to explain how a cut found during the autopsy on Cory’s lip was caused by her being suffocated.
“There’s a bruise on the inside of the lip and -- and with it a laceration. And that’s from blunt force trauma. So some forceful pressure was applied to the mouth,” she explained.
But then, in this battle of the experts, the defense counters with their own, Dr. George Nichols. He says Cory most likely died of causes related to an enlarged liver due to drinking and her bulimia.
“I think she died as a result of natural diseases related to her liver disease. But the corroborative tests to confirm that were not performed, so I cannot come to that conclusion scientifically,” said Dr. Nichols.
“My opinion is, there’s no proof that this woman was murdered,” he said.
And as to Dr. Turner’s claim that the degree of rigor mortis shows she had to be dead 10 to 12 hours?
“As I said repeatedly in there, rigor mortis does not occur at a specific, fixed time. There’s huge variability from person to person,” Dr. Nichols stated.
Further, he said, Dr. Turner was only working from photos -- she never actually saw Cory’s body in person.
And as to that single cut on Cory’s lip? Nonsense, says Dr. Nichols.
“That’s eliminated, because she does not have sufficient injuries to the inner surface of her lips,” he told “48 Hours.”
“But she did have that one injury,” a “48 Hours” producer pointed out.
“One. Not multiple. How many teeth do I have?” Dr. Nichols said, showing his teeth. “OK? Each of those is capable of making at least one, if not more, injuries to the inside of my lips as I’m fighting back against someone who’s holding a pillow over me.”
If the testimony of the dueling pathologists had jurors scratching their heads, it was in stark contrast to the testimony of the Lovelace boys, which clearly pulled at their hearts.
“The kids will be in my mind probably forever,” said juror Theresa Tarr.
The prosecution called the youngest son, Larson, who was 4 years old at the time of his mother’s death, who recounts his story about poking mommy to wake her up. Juror Theresa Tarr was struck by the image.
“It was an emotional testimony,” she said. “Thinking that a four-year-old mighta been pokin’ his dead mom, it was very emotional.”
“My children have dealt with enough pain in their life for them to feel any kind of pain,” an emotional Christine Lovelace said.
Then, the defense called the two older sons, Logan, now 18, and dressed in his military uniform, and Lincoln, now 17. A normally stoic Curtis breaks down when each of the two older boys takes the stand, recounting how Curtis came to school that day to tell them their mother had died.
News report: This is the first day we saw any real emotion out of Curtis Lovelace as he broke down in tears as his two oldest sons took the stand.
Both boys emphatically tell the court, they are “100 percent certain” they saw their mother alive that morning. Logan said he even remembers asking his ailing mom if he could stay home from school to take care of her.
“There are people who have accused the kids of lying, that’s not who the kids are,” Christine Lovelace said. “Kids will share experiences as they know them, not what they’re told to.”
And then came Lyndsay, the final key testimony for the prosecution. She was 12 at the time her mother died, and now she’s the star witness at her father’s trial.
“So how important is Lyndsay’s testimony?” Maher asked Gough.
“Oh, it’s critical. It’s the whole ballgame,” he replied.
Up until this trial, Lyndsay had always insisted she saw her mother alive that morning. But now, at age 22, and under oath in the courtroom, she says can’t be sure about what she remembers from that day.
“And I’ve had a long time to think about that and it’s almost frustrating not to remember, because you want to,” she said in an interview with Dreasler.
And yet, immediately afterwards, defense attorneys show a videotape made just two years earlier, where Lyndsay tells Det. Adam Gibson she absolutely remembers seeing her mom alive that morning.
“In the end, if you can’t, you can’t remember,” she said. “...and just say, ‘I’m sorry. It was 10 years ago I can’t remember.’”
“Were you surprised by Lyndsay’s testimony when she got up and said, “Now I don’t remember. I can’t definitively say anything?” Maher asked Det. Gibson.
“Yeah. You never know what anybody is gonna say,” he replied.
Lyndsay changing her story, the testimony of her brothers, and the dueling medical experts -- it all had the jurors heads spinning.
“She didn’t remember, and that, to me, was very hard. Because two years earlier, she had given a statement to Adam Gibson, that she remembered a lot,” said jury foreperson Adam Buss.
“In the course of deliberations, I changed my mind,” said juror Mike Hayden.
“You answer one question. But it spawns another question,” Maher noted.
“Right,” another juror agreed.
JURORS WEIGH THE CASE
On Feb. 4 2016, closing arguments begin. Curtis Lovelace, who has prosecuted cases in this very courthouse, walked in for the conclusion of his own murder trial. His new wife, Christine, says the trial has taken a toll -- especially on Curtis’ sons.
“We know that everyday the focus is bringing their father and my husband home,” she said. “It’s so cumbersome to be raising a family while we’re still doing all that we’re doing. We’re managing, it’s difficult but we’re managing.”
For Det. Adam Gibson, who started it all, the stakes couldn’t be any higher.
“I want people to remember Cory outta all this ... she deserves to have her day just like everybody else,” he told Maher. “The jury will decide if somebody took that life from her.”
“And you’ll live with the decision, whatever it is?” Maher asked.
“Whatever it is,” Det. Gibson replied.
But that decision may not be so easy.
“The length of time that it takes for rigor mortis to set in, I think I’ve heard it a half a dozen different ways, so I’m not sure. And if I’m not sure, I’m not sure a jury member is sure,” Gough pointed out.
“How many of you thought it boiled down to you either believed the kids, or you believed the science?” Maher asked the group of jurors. All six raised their hands.
“Going back on the hands thing, that was the most debated thing in that deliberation room, as far as I’m concerned,” juror Adam Buss said. “I mean, we had jury members on the floor, you know, just - ‘How do we lay? How you know, do we hold the covers?’”
“Jury members got on the floor -- put themselves in this position like this. To try and figure it out,” Maher commented.
“Right,” said Buss.
“And did that help? Did the show-and-tell of it help you?”
“It did. But it--it almost left more questions than answers,” he said.
Meanwhile across town, Lyndsay Lovelace -- estranged from her father, stepmother and brothers -- awaited the verdict from the comfort of the home she shares with her grandmother.
“Yeah, we need a verdict. We need some kind of closure -- some kind,” said Steve Belko.
“And hopefully the boys, the family, the grandparents--that everybody can get back together again someday down in the future,” said Beth Dobrzynski.
If found guilty, Curtis Lovelace could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep in the last year-and-a-half. Every minute is spent thinking about what we could we be doing ... with the goal of bringing Curtis home and proving his innocence,” said Christine Lovelace.
After 16 1/2 hours of jury deliberations over two days, Lyndsay received that much anticipated call.
“Breaking news here inside the Adams County Courthouse. Judge Hardwick did just now declare a mistrial,” Jenny Dreasler reported.”Curtis’ current wife could be seen sobbing ... the three Lovelace boys all holding hands before that verdict was reached.”
“It was unreal and ... I felt so empty and out of breathe and the only thing I could do was hug my kids and let them know it is going to be OK and it is going to be OK,” Christine Lovelace said of the jury’s decision.
“This is just dragging it out more. But if they’re hung, they’re hung. And there’s nothing we can do about it. We just wait for the next round,” Lyndsay said of the outcome.
“It’s set for retrial. And we plan to retry it,” said Prosecutor Ed Parkinson.
“If there’s no new evidence, how do you paint it in a different light and not put yourself in a position of a hung jury again?” Maher asked.
“Maybe not paint in a different light. Might paint it in the same light and with a different jury,” he replied.
But this jury fought until the end.
“Did it ever become contentious?” Maher asked the six jurors.
“It did. I think, probably five of the jurors said, ‘There is no way anybody is ever gonna change my mind.’ And two of those, I think, were for guilty, three for not guilty,” juror Mike Hayden said. “And that just deflated me so much.”
“Joyce ... you believe he did it?” Maher asked.
“I believe he did it,” said Stevens.
“He’s not guilty. And they didn’t prove it to me,” said Tarr.
“I had a feeling, after that first day, we weren’t gonna come to a unanimous decision,” said Stevens.
“We’re stuck,” Maher noted.
“It was pretty -- it was pretty obvious,” Stevens affirmed.
“Steve, do you think that Curt killed Cory?” Maher asked Steve Belko.
“I don’t know. I don’t wanna believe it. Because everything I know about Curt, he could not have done it. And -- I don’t even know if it would’ve been done in a crime of passion,” he replied. “I think of Cory on that. Because I know Cory is -- is one tough cookie. She’d have fought to the death to defend her children.”
“I don’t hear anyone in this little triad saying, ‘No way, no how, he didn’t do it,’” Maher said to the Lovelace’s friends. “There’s nobody here pounding their fists saying, ‘My friend didn’t do it.’”
“I wouldn’t go that far. I’m not entirely sure,” said Belko.
“I wouldn’t go that far, either,” said Beth Dobrzynski.
“It’s definitely put a huge question in my mind. Was there something-- some reason she died other than natural causes,” said Bret Schrader.
As the entire town awaits this new trial, speculation and gossip continue.
The question everyone has: what does the future hold for Curtis Lovelace?
“How does he get his life back ... in his hometown?” said Gough.
“Because in the court of public opinion, you think people will always feel like he did something,” said Maher.
“Yeah. Yeah. And again when this ends ... I just don’t see how he’s gonna be given the benefit of the doubt,” said Gough.
Christine Lovelace says she will never stop fighting to clear her husband’s name.
“There’s nobody guilty for this crime because there was no crime committed,” she said. “We will not allow him to sit in that jail cell for one day longer than he has to.”
“...whatever it takes to make sure my husband is exonerated and the truth is known and that he comes home. That’s what matters,” she continued.
With Curtis’ fate in limbo, Lyndsay Lovelace and her grandmother, Marty Didriksen, continue to try to move forward while keeping the focus on the cherished life they lost.
“You don’t want to lose sight of Cory. She died too young. She left children. There’s a family here. I mean, Lindsey and her brothers. So try to put that back together if we can and move forward,” she said.
“I just want everyone to find happiness again. And be able to remember the good times rather than the bad times,” said Lyndsay.
“She was an amazing woman ... she loved with the biggest heart. She had a beautiful personality,” Lyndsay said of her mother. “She touched so many people and that’s who she needs to be remembered as.”
Curtis Lovelace’s new trial date is scheduled for May 31.
His bail was set at $5 million. He remains in jail.