This week, a trial date was set for Curtis Lovelace of Quincy, Ill., a former prosecutor, school board member and star athlete who has been charged with the 2006 murder of his first wife. The trial was set by the judge to begin on Jan. 26, but Lovelace’s lawyers have told reporters that they have yet to complete discovery and may be filing motions for a reduction in bond and change of venue for the murder trial.
Cory Didriksen Lovelace was found dead on Valentine’s Day in 2006 by her husband Curtis after he dropped three of their children off at school. Curtis claimed she had been sick for days but an autopsy failed to determine a cause of death at the time. However, Curtis Lovelace was indicted in August 2014, when a detective took another look at the case and called on two pathologists, who both determined Cory was suffocated. Lovelace now remains in jail on $5 million bond after being arrested on Aug. 27 for his wife’s murder. Many in the small town of Quincy question whether the one-time star athlete, prosecutor, lawyer, school board member, husband and father could have been involved in the death over eight years ago of his 38-year-old wife. Until the reopening of the investigation, Cory Lovelace’s death had simply been considered a sad tragedy.
During his time at Quincy High School, Curtis Lovelace earned six varsity letters in football, wrestling and track and is in the school’s sports hall of fame. At the University of Illinois he played center on the college’s football team and was eventually the team’s captain. In addition to twice being a Big Ten All-American pick, Lovelace was also an academic All-American. He majored in business and then went on to law school at the University of Illinois. In 1991 he married Cory Didriksen, a classmate from Quincy High School and together they started a family while Curtis became an assistant prosecutor in the town of Quincy.
A recently released transcript from a coroner’s inquest hearing in 2006 reveals that the former prosecutor now charged with his wife’s murder did not try to revive her nor did he call for emergency services. According to the transcript, Curtis Lovelace said he dropped his three older children off at school and returned home to take a shower when he found his wife unresponsive in bed. He said he shook her and called her name and because one of her arms was stiff and her eyes were locked he did not think that CPR would have helped. He then took their youngest child to his in-laws’ house around the corner. Lovelace stated he then returned home and called his co-worker at the Adams County State Attorney’s Office. The co-worker asked if Lovelace called EMS and he replied that he had not. The co-worker then called EMS on Lovelace’s behalf.
The coroner’s report also included testimony from the children, who a detective noted did not appear to be coached. The children recalled talking with their mother that morning. The coroner’s report noted that Cory had a laceration on her upper lip, but both Curtis and the couple’s oldest child said Cory fell out of bed two days earlier. The detective on the scene that day also recalled a styrofoam cup on the nightstand that smelled of alcohol. Curtis stated that his wife had a vodka with tonic each night before she went to bed. Toxicology reports revealed that Cory had a blood-alcohol level of 0.049. Other than alcohol, she did not abuse any other substances, Curtis stated, and no other drugs were found in her system. While the autopsy was ultimately inconclusive, it did note that her liver showed signs consistent with “sudden demise,” such as murder.
Since his first wife’s death in 2006, the former prosecutor who is now charged with her murder went on to remarry twice. His current wife, as well as his ex-mother in law Marty Didriksen, were in the courtroom this week when Lovelace’s murder trial date was set.
By Jennifer Fernicola Ronay
New Jersey Herald