Lovelace Case

Lovelace trial costs Quincy, Adams County more than $20,000

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 19, 2016 8:55 pm
QUINCY -- Curtis Lovelace's first-degree murder trial cost the Quincy Police Department and the Adams County circuit clerk's office more than $22,800 for experts and jurors.

Judge Bob Hardwick declared a mistrial at the end of Lovelace's two-week trial Feb. 5. Lovelace, a former Adams County assistant state's attorney and past president of the Quincy School Board, is accused of suffocating his wife, Cory, with a pillow and causing her death on Feb. 14, 2006. Cory Lovelace, 38, was found dead in the couple's upstairs bedroom at their residence at 1869 Kentucky.

Curtis Lovelace appears outside the courtroom during his murder.
Through use of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, The Herald-Whig was able to obtain financial reports from the Quincy Police Department that detailed how much it paid the four experts used in the investigation. The most expensive expert was Dr. Michael Baden, a New York-based forensic pathologist who is considered one of the top people in his field. Baden was paid $8,500, an all-inclusive total that included his travel and other expenses to come to Quincy and testify in the trial.

Baden's total made up most of the $11,475 the Quincy Police Department paid for experts. Also receiving money from the Police Department were forensic experts Dr. Jane Turner ($1,125), Dr. Shaku Teas ($1,050) and Dr. Werner Spitz ($800).

Baden and Turner, who is based in St. Louis, both testified that they believed Cory Lovelace was dead for between 10 and 12 hours before she was found about 9 a.m. by her husband. The Chicago-based Teas was one of the first experts that Quincy police Detective Adam Gibson consulted in early 2014 after he began to investigate Lovelace's death. Teas eventually was called to the stand as a defense witness. She said she didn't believe that a crime was committed and that Cory Lovelace could have died suddenly because of chronic alcoholism.

Spitz, a Michigan-based forensic pathologist, co-authored "Spitz and Fisher's Medicolegal Investigation of Death: Guidelines for the Application of Pathology to Crime Investigation," a book that has been referred to as "the bible of forensic pathology." He also consulted with Quincy police on the Lovelace case.

Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley defended his department's spending in the case.

"What price tag do you put on justice?" Copley said.

Adams County Circuit Clerk Lori Geschwandner said her office paid the jury pool $10,900 for its service during the 10-day trial. A group of 72 people reported on the first day of the trial Jan. 25. A new law that went into effect on June 1 requires counties to pay jurors $25 for the first day of service and $50 for each additional day. Nearly all of the 72 who reported for jury duty were paid for at least two days of service. Once the trial started with 12 jurors and three alternates, the county incurred costs of $750 a day in juror pay.

The county's juror costs in the Lovelace trial were less than those the county incurred in the Steson Crider murder trial in October. The county paid jurors $11,025 in that two-week trial, and $184.13 was paid in overtime costs.

Jurors in the Lovelace trial were given three meals during their negotiations, which lasted 16 hours and stretched over two days. The jurors were fed two lunches and one dinner. Costs associated with those meals totaled $329.68, but a bill for the jurors' final meal has not been received by the county.

All the county needs to pay special prosecutor Ed Parkinson are any hotel and travel expenses he incurred during the trial. Parkinson, a member of the Illinois state's attorney appellate prosecutor's office, is paid through the state. Adams County pays a fee every year for Parkinson's office to handle special cases and any that are appealed. During the last fiscal year, Adams County's fee was $24,000.

Lovelace's retrial is set for May 31. The two Springfield, Ill., attorneys who represented him in his first trial, James Elmore and Jeff Page, have said they will not represent him in his second trial. They have not officially withdraw from the case. Lovelace earlier this week filed a motion asking for transcripts of the first trial, a routine motion that happens in many trials. Lovelace indicated he does not have funds to pay for the transcripts.

Lovelace, 47, is being held in the Hancock County Jail on $5 million bond. Adams County is paying Hancock County to house Lovelace because he can't be kept safely in the Adams County Jail. At $20 a day, Adams County has paid Hancock County more than $10,000 to house Lovelace since his Aug. 27, 2014, arrest.