These guys are talking about control.

(two interestin


 

 

 

48 Hours Love And Lies 02.03.07

Run Dates

 

02.03.0748 Hours Love And Lies

06.05.0748 Hours Love And Lies

 

 

Notes

review

 

William Falkner

 

 

Links

06.03.05 Nicholas Faibish Attacked And Killed By Pitbull - Likeness

 

 

   
   

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Love And Lies
Murder Exposes The Secret Lives Of A Suburban Couple

Feb. 3, 2007
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Jennifer and Barton Corbin (CBS)



(CBS) In Dec. 2004, Jennifer Corbin's young sons found their mother dead with a gunshot wound. When a tipster later told police that Corbin's death might be connected to an apparent suicide 14 years earlier, investigators quickly re-opened the cases.

Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports on the investigation for 48 Hours Mystery.


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Steve and Kelly Comeau met their neighbors, the Corbins, shortly after the family moved in across the street in 1999.

It turned out their new neighbors, Barton "Bart" Corbin and his wife Jennifer, were throwing a birthday party for their son, Dalton, on the same day Steve and Kelly were planning to celebrate their daughterís second birthday.

From then on, Stephanie Comeau and Dalton Corbin celebrated their birthdays together.

They lived in Buford, Ga., outside Atlanta, where Jennifer was a pre-school teacher; her husband Bart had his own dental practice.

The Corbins had a second child, Dillon, and the two families became inseparable. By 2004, after sharing the past five years with the Corbin family, the last thing the Comeaus could have imagined was living a life apart.

It was about 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 4th when Kelly Comeau heard banging on her front door; outside was Dalton Corbin in his pajamas.

Through tears, Dalton told Kelly that his mother was dead. "I just ran across the street," she remembers. "And I went in and could not believe what I had seen. The boys found her first. That was heartbreaking."

When Detective Marcus Head arrived at the Corbin's house, the officers told him it looked like a suicide. There were no signs of a struggle, papers were found by Jennifer's head that could be a suicide note, and there was a gun.

Bart was tracked down at his brother Bob's house, where he had spent the night. Bob broke the news to his brother. "And he basically broke down. Went up my stairs in my house and proceeded to throw up in the bathroom. Complete shock," he remembers.

Later that day, seven-year-old Dalton Corbin was interviewed by the police. "Do you have any idea why you think you're here today?" a detective asked the little boy.

"Cause my mom got killed this morning," Dalton replied.

Dalton told detectives that his parents had been arguing a lot that week. When asked if he thought his parents might divorce or separate, Dalton replied with an affirmative, "Mm-hmm."

By early evening, Det. Head had shifted his focus to the coupleís troubled marriage and wanted to learn more about Bart and Jennifer Corbin.

It turned out Bart had an alibi for the night Jennifer died. Det. Head learned that Corbin had left the house around 10 p.m. to meet two of his friends for a late dinner and drinks at a local pub.

"And then he went from there and got coffee and went to his brother's house, about 20 minutes away from here," Head explains.

Police talked to Jenniferís family and friends to learn more about her. Det. Head says, "We're trying to find out if she made any remarks to co-workers or friends about recent troubles with Dr. Corbin."

That summer, Jennifer had told her family she wanted to leave Bart. "She said that she just had no emotion for him anymore. She said, 'You know, I love him because heís the father of my children, but Iím no longer in love with him," remembers Jennifer's sister Heather.

But by the fall, Jennifer had already fallen in love with a man she had met on the Internet. And although the two had yet to meet in person, they were planning a life together.

Bart didnít learn of his wifeís relationship until just before she died, when he stumbled across some of her e-mails. He then filed for divorce.

 


Five days later, 33-year-old Jennifer was dead. As for those papers found near Jennifer's body, Det. Head says, "As it turns out those papers were actually a divorce filling in Gwinnett County Superior Court. And that was under her shoulder."


What Bart didnít know was the true identity of Jennifer's online lover. Jennifer herself had only learned the truth shortly before she diedóand she had never told anyone.

For Head, Jennifer's Internet affair was certainly unusual. But it took on new meaning when he learned this person was one of the last to speak to Jennifer alive.

"We know through phone records and witness accounts that she was on the phone until about 12:30 a.m.," Head says.

The night she died, while her two sons were sleeping, Jennifer and her online friend spent almost four hours talking, first on the phone and then exchanging e-mails.

Records show that they communicated until about 1:40 a.m.; minutes later, a bullet killed Jennifer.

After just one day into his investigation, Head was pretty sure Jennifer didnít kill herself. "There was obviously some tough times goin' on in the marriage and tough times here at the Corbin home," he says. "And I'm thinkin' there's definitely more to it at this point."

And a few days later, he received a shocking phone call that convinced him to follow his hunch: out of the blue, a woman called him with a tip. The caller thought there might be a connection between Jennifer's death and the suicide of another woman, 14 years earlier, named Dorothy "Dolly" Hearn.

Head immediately phoned the sheriff's department in Augusta, Ga., 150 miles away, to find out more about Dolly's death.

In a remarkable coincidence, Scott Peebles, who answered the phone in Augusta, knew who the lead detective on the 1990 investigation was: his father, Ron, now retired.

"And he remembered it right away. I think that he was very uneasy about this case being a suicide, but at the same time was not able to prove otherwise," Peebles says.

He dusted off the old case files and got to work. He learned that on June 6th, 1990, his father had responded to a 911 call after someone had been shot.

"He saw Dolly on a couch as soon as he walked in the front door. And she was leaned over. And she had a gunshot wound to the right side of her head," Peebles explains.

When the autopsy report came back a few days later, the medical examiner ruled that Dolly, a 27-year-old dental student, had killed herself.

But for Dolly's family, it all had to be a mistake. They had seen Dolly just three days before she died at her brother Gil's graduation. And they remembered? her being happy and excited to see friends and teachers that she had known in the past.

The Hearns hired their own pathologist to give them a second opinion. And he, too, concluded that Dolly had committed suicide. But her family held on to their belief that Dolly did not take her own life. They were certain she was murdered.
 



After all these years, the Hearns had found an unlikely ally in Scott Peebles: he was looking for a connection between Dolly's and Jennifer's deaths. And when he read through his fatherís old case files, one name jumped off the pages: Bart Corbin.

Bart, also a dental student in 1990, had been Dolly's on-again, off-again boyfriend. And at the time of her death, they were off-again, for the very last time.

When Peebles called Det. Head and told him about Bart Corbinís link to Dolly Hearn, Head says it was an "overwhelming" moment. "We knew we were on the right track by thinking this was not a suicide," he says.

What were the odds of two women committing suicide in one manís life? And both women had died shortly after ending their relationship with Bart.

Investigators now believed there was only one explanation: Bart had tried to stage his wifeís suicide, after apparently getting away with the same crime 14 years earlier.

That's all it took for investigators on both cases to realize they were after the same man.

But Scott Peebles, working Dollyís case in Augusta, knew he had his work cut out for him because Bart had been cleared of her murder once before. Back in 1990, investigators let Bart Corbin go, even though he admitted he had been at Dollyís apartment on the afternoon she died.

So Peebles knew he had to find something more if he ever was going to arrest Bart for Dolly's murder. He decided to take a second look at the death scene photographs.

"I'm not an expert in blood spatter analysis. But I knew that this field was something that had grown quite significantly," he explains. So he asked Dewayne Piper, a blood spatter expert, to take a look.

"There was no blood on her hand, where you would expect to see it," says Piper. "There was no blood on the weapon at all."

It was that lack of blood, in areas it should have been, that convinced Piper that Dolly didn't die from a self-inflicted gunshot.

And a blood smear on Dolly's thigh convinced Piper someone had moved Dolly after she had been shot. "Thereís no way she made this stain. Thereís no way. So you know, somebody else had to be there," he says.

Piper told Scott Peebles that he believed Dolly's body had been repositioned.

It wasnít much to go on, but since Bart was at Dollyís apartment the day she died, Peebles hoped it was enough. "And the grand jury was quite passionate about seeing that Barton Corbin be arrested immediately," Peebles recalls.

Fourteen years after Dolly's death was ruled a suicide, Barton Corbin was charged with her death; two weeks later, he was also charged with the murder of his wife, Jennifer.

Jennifer's trial was scheduled to begin first. But as it inched closer, investigators still hadnít found what they wanted most Ė a link between Bart Corbin and the gun that killed Jennifer.
 



Danny Porter, Gwinnett Countyís district attorney, was building his case against Bart. The first thing he hoped to prove was that Jennifer did not commit suicide.

Porter said he would show that Bart tried to stage his wifeís death to look like suicide, just as he had 14 years earlier with Dolly.

"First was the fact that it was a close range gunshot wound to the head and the weapon was there on the bed with the body. The other thing was there was no sign of a struggle or forced entry into the house," Porter says.

But Porter still hadnít figured out how to link Bart to that gun, which was last traced to Troy, Ala.

Porter did know that Bart had a good friend, Richard Wilson, who lived in Troy and he had evidence that Bart went there just four days before Jennifer died. But when Porterís investigators met with him, Wilson said he didnít want to get involved.

"We sort of talked about obstruction of justice and perjury and whether or not he could go to jail. And he didn't react very well to that. We went down one other time. And that's when he got mad and wouldn't talk to us anymore," Porter remembers.

Porter did think he could show jurors Bart had a motive: both Jennifer and Dolly were leaving him and that was something, the prosecutor says, Bart Corbin simply couldnít accept.

Danny Porter also said he could punch holes in Bart's alibi for the night of Jenniferís murder.

He doesnít dispute that Bart left home around 10 that night, to meet friends for drinks. "According to the bar receipt, he probably had six or seven beers in the time period," Porter says.

But Porter doesn't believe that Bart drove to his brother's house at 1:35 a.m. to spend the night. Instead, the prosecutor says, Bart made a deadly detour.

And he had the witness to prove it: friend and neighbor Steve Comeau.

Comeau had just pulled into his own garage when he noticed Bart arriving home, across the street. He guesses it was 1:30 or a quarter to 2:00 a.m. at the time.

"And I noticed the truck pullin' in the driveway," Comeau recalls. "But I didn't pay much attention to it and I went in the house."

According to phone records, that was right around the time Jennifer sent her last e-mail to her online friend. "We know that she was on the phone and using the e-mail system up until 1:40 that morning. So she was awake," Porter says.

Steve Comeau says he heard Bartís truck again, just before 2 a.m.

Porter says during that 15 or 20 minute period, Bart killed his wife, and then left, even though he knew that one of their two boys would find their mother. Porter says ďthat says more about Bart Corbin than almost anything else in both of these cases.Ē

But it was all the more chilling the next morning. Not only did Dalton and Dillon see their motherís dead body, they also said they knew who shot her. When Dalton ran across the street for help, and Kelly answered the door, the first words out of his mouth were "my dad shot my mom."

During a police interview, Dalton told police he had not seen or heard the shooting. But if they hadnít witnessed a thing, why would two young boys jump to such a disturbing conclusion about their own father?

"That just goes to show you what went on when the doors were closed for two kids to pick up on something like that," argues Jennifer's sister Heather.
 



After his arrest, Bart hired two of Georgiaís most high-profile attorneys to represent him; Bruce Harvey and David Wolfe claim Corbin is innocent of both charges.

Harvey says there's no more evidence today than there was 14 years ago tying his client to Dollyís death. "The only thing that has changed in the 14 years is the unfortunate but independent, unconnected event with Jennifer Corbin," he tells Van Sant.

And Jennifer, they say, had a compelling motive to end her own life, and it involved her online lover, who 48 Hours discovered after months of our own investigation.

In the summer of 2004, Jennifer started playing an online computer game called "EverQuest."

"And you have groups of four people that go out on different missions and whatever, and you slay dragons. You know, you have lots of fun," explains Jennifer's mother Narda. "And it was escape for Jen."

But according to defense attorney David Wolfe, that escape opened a doorway into a dangerous new world for Jennifer. "It gives you the opportunity to assume another station in life. Obviously because she wasn't happy with who she was," he says.

It wasnít long before Jennifer, and a man on her Everquest team named Christopher, started communicating outside the game, through personal e-mails.

While these e-mails began as a friendship, Bart's other defense attorney Bruce Harvey says the online relationship became "incredibly sexual."

Harvey read one of the e-mails, addressed to Chris, for Van Sant. "Subject, Mmmm," Harvey reads. "I want your mouth hot, wet and hungry, eating up the soft skin of my neck, shoulders and mouth."

After a month or two, Jennifer and Chris were apparently planning a future together, even though they had never met face to face and had never spoken on the phone.

But after Bart discovered some of his wifeís emails in late November and filed for divorce, he threatened to use Jenniferís online affair against her to gain custody of their two boys.

Over the next several days, Bart downloaded the information on Jenniferís computer, and stole her cell phone and journal.

In turn, she called police, hoping they could help her get them back. "He's probably gonna take them and use them as evidence against me. We're in the process of going through a divorce," Jennifer told the 911 operator.

And Jennifer knew that Bart might soon discover her darkest secret, a bombshell so shocking, Bruce Harvey claims it would destroy her life.

"Here is a clearly strong relationship developed over the Internet, with somebody you think is going to be your Prince Charming," he says.

In truth, Chris wasnít a "Prince Charming" at all. Shortly before she died, Jennifer learned that Chris wasnít even a man.

"And all that dissolves. All it dissolves in an instant," Harvey says.

"Chris" revealed that he was actually a she, a woman named Anita. Jennifer was clearly devastated when she responded in e-mails, "You have absolutely ripped my heart out. I canít live this lie, itís killing me."
 



Jennifer had never met Anita, not even seen a photograph, but 48 Hours tracked her down at her home in Missouri, where she spoke publicly about Jennifer for the first time.

Anita acknowledged she used the name Chris and presented herself as a man online. Asked why she did that, Anita told Van Sant, "Because at first we were just pretending. We were playing."

Anita kept her secret for the first two months of their online love affair. When things started getting intense, she decided to tell Jennifer the truth.

"I told her, 'My name isn't Chris. My name is Anita,'" she recalls.

Jennifer's response? "She logged off," Anita recalls.

The next day, Jennifer sent Anita some angry e-mails. And later that day, after the two spoke by phone for the very first time, Jennifer wrote back that she was still in love with this person, male or female. "I love you no matter who you are," she wrote.

Corbinís defense attorneys claim that Jennifer knew that her online love affair, and the graphic content of some of her e-mails to Anita, could cost her everything.

"She stood to lose her marriage," Bruce Harvey argues. "Her home, her children."

"We'll be able to clearly show that this whole scenario was a recipe for suicide," Harvey argues.

But Anita says that while Jennifer was maybe stressed, she was not depressed or suicidal. Anita claims that Jennifer was planning a future with her, having asked her to think about moving to Atlanta.

But Jenniferís family says that Anita lied. They say she lied about who she was and she manipulated Jennifer at a time when she was lonely and vulnerable.

Heather says she knows Jennifer better than anyone and doubts her sister was planning a new life with Anita. "I donít think thatís the path, in my heart, that Jen wouldíve taken. But it would have been o.k. if it had," she says.

Asked to talk about the night Jennifer died, Anita says, "We talked about a lot of things. She talked about getting an attorney to get Bart out of the house."

"She told me she wanted me to know something. Just in case we never met. And I said, 'What do you mean if we never meet?' She says, 'If your plane crashes on the way out here, or if my husband kills me,'" Anita tells Van Sant.

Anita never heard from Jennifer again. And after two days of worrying, Anita asked her sister to contact the family, posing as Jenniferís friend. Thatís when Anita learned what happened.

Anita says the moment she learned Jennifer was dead was "heart-stopping."
Anita says her future had been destroyed.

Although Bart didnít know there was a new woman in Jenniferís life, prosecutor Danny Porter believes the online affair enraged him and led him to murder.

With the trial set to begin, Bart's attorney, Bruce Harvey, was confident he could show jurors both Dolly and Jennifer had motives for suicide. The stakes were high, because if convicted for the murders of both women, Bart Corbin could face the death penalty.

In Sept. 2006, with jury selection underway, Porter was hoping to convict Bart, even though he couldnít tie him to the murder weapon. Porter was prepared to try Bart, despite missing a key witness: Richard Wilson, the man the prosecutor is sure gave Jennifer's husband the gun that killed her. Wilson still wasn't talking.

"This is a case that a jury's gonna have to put together out of small pieces and reach conclusions from 'em," Porter says.

But all that would change on day two of jury selection, when an investigator came into the courtroom and handed Porter a note. Porter says the note read, "'Come out of the courtroom now.' And now was underlined five or six times."

"And he said 'Richard Wilson just copped to the gun," Porter remembers.
 



After months of repeated questioning by investigators, Wilson had finally broken. He confessed to giving his good friend Bart a gun, just four days before Jennifer died.

In a statement videotaped by police, Richard Wilson told investigators that Bart Corbin had contacted him. "He said that he thought his wife was fooling around on him and he thought he needed a gun to protect himself, he knew I had guns and asked me if I had one. So he came down here and got it."

And the gun Wilson gave him was the same gun used to shoot and kill Jennifer.

Porter says ďI about faintedĒ when he heard Wilson had confessed. ďWe had the murder weapon in Barton Corbin's hands four days before the killing," he says.

When Porter broke the news to Bartís attorneys, they immediately realized their case was mortally wounded. "We go from 'I'm ready for trial. We're gonna kick your ass in both jurisdictions. Let's rock and roll,' to, 'Can I save this guy's life?'Ē Bruce Harvey remembers.

To spare Jennifer and Dollyís families the agony of two trials, Porter approached the defense team with a plea deal. Bart would be spared death in exchange for confessing to the murders of both women.

The families waited for a response. "I was very uptight. I was emotionally just wound up. I knew it was the most important moment in this whole 16 years," recalls Barbara Hearn.

That moment came on Sept. 15, 2006, when the man who thought he could get away with two perfectly planned murders took the deal.

Corbin had to face the two families he had lied to, and admit to killing Jennifer and Dolly. In court, Corbin confessed to killing his wife.

"There was no reaction. There was no emotion. It's just sorta like looking into the eyes of a shark and there's nothin' there," Porter recalls.

Corbin gave his second confession to Danny Craig, the district attorney handling Dolly Hearn's case.

The victimsí families finally got their chance to face Bart Corbin in court. Jenniferís father, Max Barber, was first.

"First of all, Bart, what you're doing today is the right thing to do. Admitting the murder of Jennifer and Dorothy," Barber said. "God might forgive you. I never will. I speak for my family when I say I just virtually hope you burn in hell. That's all I have to say."

Dollyís older brother, Carlton Hearn, Jr., spoke for the Hearn family. "Bart Corbin stole from me. He stole from my family. He stole from the world. He deserves no place in society. "

Dolly Hearnís mother, Barbara, says she never got the answer to the one question on everyoneís mind: why? ďWhy did it have to be like this? Why couldnít you just walk away?Ē

Bart's brother Bob didnít have any answers either. "We chose to back the guy we believed in. And we turned out to back the liar," he says. "Had I known he had done it, they would a got him. It's that simple. He took a mother from her kids, took somebody's daughter."

Jenniferís sister Heather, who is raising Dalton and Dillon with her husband Doug, says it is time to look ahead.

"We are not going to let this destroy our family," she says. "We'll move on but we will never forget. And we will never ó I donít think weíll ever be able to forgive.