Quincy attorney and former School Board member indicted for first-degree murder in wife's 2006 death

Posted: Aug. 28, 2014 7:10 am Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 3:15 pm

UPDATE: During Curtis Lovelace's first court appearance Thursday, the indictment read by Judge Scott Butler said that Cory D. Lovelace was suffocated. Butler advised Lovelace that he faces 20 to 60 years in prison, three years of mandatory supervised release and a fine up to $25,000. More information from the hearing can be found here.

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Football star. School board member. Lawyer. National Guard member. Father. Husband.

All of those describe Curtis Lovelace.

On Wednesday morning, an Adams County grand jury indicted the 45-year-old Lovelace on first-degree murder charges in connection with the Feb. 14, 2006, death of his first wife, Cory Didriksen Lovelace. He was taken into custody without incident by Quincy police officers at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday on Vermont between Sixth and Seventh streets, near his law office at 608 Vermont.

The arrest took place less than a block from the Adams County Courthouse, where Lovelace served as an assistant state's attorney for 7 1/2 years.

Lovelace is being held on $5 million bond, meaning he would have to post at least $500,000 to be freed. After being processed by Quincy police, Lovelace was turned over to the Adams County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Brent Fischer said he planned to house Lovelace elsewhere because the Adams County Jail did not have adequate facilities to segregate Lovelace from the rest of the jail population.

Online jail records show Lovelace was housed Wednesday night at the Hancock County Jail.

The Adams County Circuit Clerk's Office reported that Lovelace is expected to make his first court appearance at 1 p.m. Thursday in front of Judge Scott Butler. A Rushville native, Butler recently was named to replace Alesia McMillen as a circuit judge. He started his new job Aug. 4.

Ed Parkinson of the State Appellate Prosecutor's Service in Springfield has been appointed to prosecute the case.

Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard said he asked for a special prosecutor about six months ago.

"I (asked for a special prosecutor) for two reasons," Barnard said. "First, it involved a former employee, and it would be inappropriate for our office to be involved. Second, there is a reasonable likelihood that I could be called as a witness in this case."

Cory Lovelace, 38, was found dead inside the couple's home at 1869 Kentucky on Valentine's Day morning in 2006. A month after she died, a coroner's jury ruled the cause of death undetermined. An autopsy reached the same conclusion.

Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley said the investigation was reopened in 2013 after the department received new information, but he declined to provide details on that information or what investigators believe happened. The information was presented to the grand jury Wednesday.

"We are still doing some investigation, even though it's been to grand jury," Copley said.

He said autopsy results were reviewed by other pathologists, who he said determined Cory Lovelace's death was a homicide.

Curtis Lovelace and Cory Lovelace were both 1986 Quincy High School graduates. Cory Lovelace graduated from the University of Iowa in 1990. Curtis Lovelace, a star football player, attended the University of Illinois, where he was a two-time all-Big Ten Conference center. He was a member of the Illini's 1990 Big Ten championship team.

The Lovelaces married Jan. 26, 1991, and they had four children.

Curtis Lovelace graduated with a degree in business administration from Illinois in 1990 and earned a juris doctorate from the school in 1994. He has been a member of the Illinois bar since Nov. 10, 1994.

Lovelace was in private practice for four years before joining Dot Foods in Mount Sterling in March 1998. He served as the perishable distribution center manager until December 2004. He started work with the Adams County State's Attorney's Office in December 2004, primarily handling civil cases and working on legal issues for the Adams County Board.

Lovelace served three terms on the Quincy School Board, including two terms as president. He was on the School Board from April 1999 through 2011.

Lovelace has been a captain in the Illinois Army National Guard since November 2009 and has served as a trial defense lawyer in the Guard since November 2010. He went through judge advocate general training in July 2010.

Lovelace has been married twice since Cory Lovelace's death. He married Erika Gomez in late 2007 or early 2008 and they divorced on Sept. 27, 2013. According to Adams County Clerk records, Lovelace and Christine L. Brewster of Minneapolis, Minn., received a marriage license in November 2013 and married the following month.

Erika Gomez declined comment when reached Wednesday by The Herald-Whig.

"I can't talk about anything," she said.

Staff Writer Matt Hopf contributed to this report.