Lovelace Case

Lovelace jury unable to reach verdict after 16 hours; new trial set for May 31

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 5, 2016 5:40 pm

QUINCY — When it was all over Friday night, Curtis Lovelace learned he will have to start over.

Judge Bob Hardwick declared a mistrial in Lovelace's first-degree murder trial after a jury told him they were hopelessly deadlocked after 16 hours of deliberations over two days at the Adams County Courthouse.

Hardwick set a new trial for May 31 and remanded Lovelace to the custody of the Adams County Sheriff's Department. He will be transferred to the Hancock County Jail and held on his original $5 million bond.

Lovelace showed no emotion as Hardwick went over with the jury how it could not reach a verdict. He sat the defense table, his legs crossed and his hands in his lap, which is how he was for most of the trial. Sitting about 15 feet away in the second row of the gallery was his wife, Christine, and his three sons. The group wept after Curtis Lovelace was escorted from the courtroom.

“It's OK,” Christine Lovelace said loudly through tears as she tried to comfort the boys.

She declined comment while leaving the large second-floor courtoom with a group of about a dozen supporters.

“I don't find fault with the jury. They were emotional and they were into it,” special prosecutor Ed Parkinson said. “We'll just try it with another jury. I'm not going to waste people's time or money. We thought we had a very good case that was reinvestigated.”

Lovelace is accused of suffocating his wife, Cory, on Feb. 14, 2006. Cory Lovelace, 38, was found dead in the couple's second-floor bedroom at their house at 1869 Kentucky.

The prosecution claimed that Curtis Lovelace used a pillow to suffocate his wife. When she was found, Cory Lovelace's arms were raised over her body and bent. Her left arm was up near her shoulder, and her right arm was in a similar position but a little lower on her body. Her death was ruled “undetermined” in 2006, but Quincy police Detective Adam Gibson reopened the investigation in December 2013.

Two forensic experts called by the prosecution said they believed Cory Lovelace died hours before Curtis Lovelace said he found her dead about 9 a.m. on Feb. 14.

Lovelace's defense team, which was made up of Springfield, Ill., attorneys James Elmore and Jeff Page, contended that Cory Lovelace was alive on the morning of Feb. 14 and that the couple's three oldest children saw her before they went to school that day.

Quincy police Detective Jeff Baird said he interviewed all three children two days after their mother's death at the Lovelace residence. Baird reported that all three told him they saw Cory Lovelace alive that morning.

The couple's youngest child, Larson, who was just 4 years old at the time, was not interviewed by Baird. He testified that he remembered getting up that morning and trying to rouse his mother.

He said he went to the side of her bed, called out for her and remembered trying to poke her. When he couldn't wake his mother, Larson said he sat on the stairs and waited for his father to return home from taking his oldest siblings to school.

Lovelace's defense team said the jury would have to discount what the children told police after their mother died to convict Curtis Lovelace.

Neither Elmore nor Page were available for comment after the mistrial was declared.

After it took two days to impanel a jury, testimony was heard over six days. The jury started its deliberations at 1 p.m. Thursday after closing arguments that morning. The jury, which was made up of 10 women and two men, deliberated for eight hours Thursday before being dismissed. They spent most of Friday morning watching police video interviews of Curtis Lovelace after his arrest on Aug. 27, 2014, and one conducted with daughter Lyndsay Lovelace in March 2014.

Hardwick said he met with jurors about 2 p.m. Friday and was told they were deadlocked. He instructed them to go back and see if they could make any progress.

He met with the jury a second time about 4:30 p.m., and again was told it was deadlocked. Hardwick asked the jurors to try for another hour, but they told him they couldn't make any movement shortly after he sent them back into deliberations.

Hardwick declared a mistrial about 5:30 p.m.

Parkinson said the Illinois State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor Office will review the case. He said he likely will be the person to retry the case. It is not known whether Elmore and Page will represent Lovelace again.

“This is a very important case to resolve one way or the other,” Parkinson said. “We were prepared for this trial, we thought, and we'll do it over again.”

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