Day one wraps up in murder trial for former Adams County assista - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Day one wraps up in murder trial for former Adams County assistant state's attorney

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Cory Lovelace Cory Lovelace
Curtis Lovelace Curtis Lovelace
Curtis Lovelace is escorted into an Adams County courtroom Monday morning. Curtis Lovelace is escorted into an Adams County courtroom Monday morning.
Curtis Lovelace leaving the courtroom. Curtis Lovelace leaving the courtroom.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Day one of the Curtis Lovelace murder trial wrapped up in Adams County Circuit Court Monday afternoon, almost 10 years after prosecutors say he killed his wife in their Quincy home.

The jury selection process started around 9 a.m.. With a pool of 100 potential jurors, court officials expect the process to last through Tuesday. 72 potential jurors showed up for questioning. They were being questioned in pools of four. Defense attorney James Elmore asked how potential jurors could handle discussions of bulimia, alcoholism and experiences getting children ready for school. So far, 22  potential jurors got through questioning, and seven of them were dismissed. There are 50 more that haven't been questioned yet. The judge hopes to start picking a jury by Tuesday afternoon.

Lovelace had a group of about eight supporters in the courtroom, including his current wife.

Lovelace was very attentive during the selection process, nodding to answers and writing down questions for his attorneys to ask. 

Lovelace is accused of murdering his wife, Cory, on Valentine's Day in 2006, but it wasn't until August of 2014 when Lovelace was arrested and charged with murder.

Lovelace is a former Adams County assistant state's attorney.

State's Attorney Jon Barnard is expected to testify in the trial, as a special prosecutor handles the case.

Lovelace is very well-known in the community, as a former sports standout and later as a Quincy School Board member. That could make selecting an unbiased jury a longer process than most trials.

Special prosecutor Ed Parkinson sent WGEM News documents in September 2014 surrounding Cory's death. He released the coroner's inquest testimony with jury findings, Curtis Lovelace's arrest report from August 2014 and the police report regarding Cory Lovelace's death in 2006.

(Read: Former school board member and assistant state's attorney accused of murdering wife in 2006)

Documents point to early suspicion of law enforcement officials, including a statement by Curtis Lovelace that he didn't immediately call 911 or try to resuscitate his wife.

The autopsy report said "the cause of death of this 38-year-old white female is undetermined. There is unexplained trauma to the mouth and a sign of death inconsistent with time frame given. However, there is marked steatosis of the liver, which is fatty liver, which can be associated with sudden demise, a characteristic diagnosis in the absence of any other findings."

Quincy Police Detective Jeff Baird testified March 23, 2006 that he had arrived at the Lovelace home, at 1869 Kentucky, at 9:44 a.m., where he met with Coroner Gary Hamilton, Quincy Police Officer Doug VanderMaiden and Adams County paramedics. Baird said the paramedics told him she had been found dead by her husband in bed.

VanderMaiden stated in a police report that Curtis Lovelace told him he last saw his wife alive around 8:15 a.m., and found her dead 45 minutes later.

When Baird arrived, he noted she hadn't been dead very long, and her body was still soft.

"There was no other sign of any trauma to her body whatsoever," Baird stated in court. "I examined the room for anything related to the cause of death and I was unable to find anything out of place."

Baird says Curtis Lovelace told him his wife hadn't been feeling well that morning, so he took their kids to school. He told Baird he got back home around 8:40 a.m. and began working on his laptop.

"He is an assistant state's attorney, is on the school board, teaches at Quincy University, has a couple of classes there that he instructs, so he had his schedule to maintain and he was checking his schedules and he realized he had an appointment at 9:30 and he decided he had better get in the shower," Baird stated. "It was about five minutes after nine when he walked upstairs and he looked into the bedroom and he saw his wife and her eyes were partially open and she was not moving."

Baird stated Lovelace shook his wife and called to her, but that she appeared to be dead, and Lovelace didn't think CPR would help. Lovelace told him one of her arms was stiff and her eyes were locked.

Baird said Lovelace took his youngest child, who was still in bed, to his in-laws' home just behind their house. He returned home and called a coworker on his cellphone.

"He called a coworker, telling the coworker that he found his wife dead in bed and did not know what to do," Baird said. "His coworker asked if he had called EMS. He said no. The coworker said he would call EMS for him."

Curtis Lovelace also told VanderMaiden he called Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard.

When EMS arrived, Curtis Lovelace told them his wife had been sick all weekend with flu-like symptoms and spent a lot of time in bed.

He also told Baird his wife had taken one Ibuprofen, and then another a while later. He said she also helped see the kids off for school that morning.

Baird stated Lovelace's story didn't have any glaring inconsistencies from what the children told him and he had interviewed them separately and away from each other. Baird also stated it didn't appear the kids had been coached.

"Possible one phrase that might be the same with all of them and no, there was nothing like that," Baird stated. "They all had a slightly different experience that morning and that is what their statements reflected. All of them remember seeing their mother that morning."

Baird said the autopsy found a slight laceration under Cory Lovelace's lip, but before that came to light, Curtis Lovelace, and his daughter, Lindsey, said Cory Lovelace had told them she had fallen out of bed Sunday.

"Her mother did not complain of any injuries, did not say she hurt herself or where, but did tell them both that she had fallen out of bed," Baird stated.

Baird stated Curtis Lovelace told him Cory Lovelace hadn't been to a doctor in four years and was a drinker. 

Baird found a vodka and tonic sitting next to the bed in a 24-ounce styrofoam cup. He stated it was half full, and smelled faintly of alcohol.

Baird stated the toxicology report found 0.049 blood alcohol content at the time of death, at 8:00 a.m.

A juror asked  if a heart attack would have shown up on the autopsy and Coroner Gary Hamilton said it would have. 

"The actual cause was undetermined," Hamilton told the jury. "It did say that she did have marked steatosis of the liver, which is fatty liver. Fatty liver can be caused by diabetes, can be caused by obesity and can be caused by alcohol."

Baird stated that Curtis Lovelace didn't act unusual, and appeared to grieve normally.

Baird said Cory's mother told him she was afraid her daughter had alcoholism, or an eating disorder, possibly bulimia.

The coroner told jurors bulimia wouldn't show up in an autopsy.

"If you knew you were sick and continued to drink after that point that you knew you were physically sick and you kept on drinking and you died of that, would that be suicide or is that accidental?" one juror asked.

"I do not know that she kept on drinking," Hamilton responded. "I do know that she was not feeling well."

"But she was sick starting on a Saturday and she had a blood alcohol of 0.049," a juror said.

Baird pointed out that the legal limit for driving is 0.08.

"I understand that but if she had been sick for three days or better and she still had a blood alcohol level of 0.049, I am thinking it would be one cause or other," a juror said.

"She also had not eaten because she was sick," another juror said.

"It is kind of strange that a person would drink themselves to suicide," another juror said.

According to the police report regarding Lovelace's arrest filed in August 2014, Quincy Police Detective Adam Gibson interviewed Lovelace for over two hours. The details of that interview have not been released.

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