Lovelace trial jurors split over whether fair retrial is possibl - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Lovelace trial jurors split over whether fair retrial is possible in Adams County

Jurors Katie Venvertloh, Adam Buss and Theresa Tarr sit down to talk with WGEM News. Jurors Katie Venvertloh, Adam Buss and Theresa Tarr sit down to talk with WGEM News.
Jury Foreman Adam Buss Jury Foreman Adam Buss
Juror Katie Venvertloh Juror Katie Venvertloh
Juror Theresa Tarr Juror Theresa Tarr
Juror Susie Koontz Juror Susie Koontz

It's been just more than a week since the Curtis Lovelace murder trial ended in a hung jury. In an exclusive interview, four jurors opened up about the breakdown behind closed doors, the moment they realized the families would have to go through another trial and their concerns about whether Curtis Lovelace can get a fair retrial.

"This is an experience I'll never forget," juror Katie Venvertloh said. 

"You'll never get those photos out of your head," Jury Foreman Adam Buss added.

The scene of Cory Lovelace's death a decade ago still haunts some jurors who sat through a two-week trial to decide whether or not Curtis Lovelace suffocated his first wife on Valentine's Day, 2006.

"I really feel like he's guilty," juror Susie Koontz said. "She was in a very unnatural position. I think something was supporting those hands and arms while rigor mortis set in, and that something was moved before the police, EMTs or first responders were there."

Buss went back and forth, but in the end, he says he voted not guilty, along with jurors Theresa Tarr and Venvertloh.

"We wanted hardcore evidence," Venvertloh said. "Proof that that man's DNA was on a murder weapon that murdered her, and they can't prove that."

"Another big problem that I had - and I don't want to single anybody out - but the investigation was something less to be desired," Buss said.

As they wrestled with conflicting opinions from pathologists, some of the jurors wonder whether some of the other jurors were biased.

"Possibly bias," Buss said.

"I think it's questionable," Venvertloh said.

Some felt like other jurors had already made up their minds.

"Possibly," Tarr said. 

"I think so," Buss and Venvertloh added.

"I really hope that's wrong because I'd like to think we all went in there with open minds," Koontz said.

Koontz said she felt Lovelace was guilty.

After deliberating 16 hours, the jury was evenly split. It couldn't reach a verdict.

"It was beyond frustrating," Koontz said. "I felt in my head that we failed."

Was it hard to reveal there was no decision?

"It was," Buss said. "Yes, it was."

The families involved - including the Lovelace children, who testified - now prepare for a second trial.

"I pray for them every day, because no matter what happened in that house, guilty or not guilty, this tore a family apart, and no family deserves that," Venvertloh said.

But Curtis Lovelace deserves a fair retrial, they say. But they also question whether he can get it in Quincy.

"It's gonna be really hard in this community," Buss said.

"I don't think so in this community," Venvertloh said. "I think too many people are talking or know about it. I think for him to get a fair retrial, it needs to move."

Koontz disagrees. She says Lovelace can get a fair retrial in Adams County. 

The trial is on schedule for May 31.

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