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Trial for the murder of Erin Corwin set for September
Trial for the murder of Erin Corwin set for September 2016
Trial for the murder of Erin Corwin set for September 2016
Originally printed on Examiner.com January 2016
The Hi-Desert Star news reported Jan. 2 that a trial date has been set for the case of missing horse whisperer Erin Corwin. It was 7 AM one hot summer morning when 19-year-old and pregnant Erin kissed her husband goodbye and was seen alive for the last time. It would be weeks before she was found murdered, at the bottom of a mine shaft in Joshua Tree, California. Evidence collected at the bottom of the mine shaft matched evidence found in the Jeep of the next door neighbors of Erin and her husband Jonathan. The Jeep was owned by another married couple. The husband of that couple, Christopher Brandon Lee, has been arrested and is facing first degree murder in the death of Erin Corwin.
The Hi Desert Star reported Jan. 2 that a Feb. 29 trial date has been set. According to the minutes of the case a hearing to set a trial date and hear a defense motion in the case against Christopher Lee was held on Dec. 18 of last year. The defense motion was denied, and a Feb. 29 date was set for Feb. 29. However after much legal wrangling this Spring, the trial date for the state of California vs. Christopher Lee has been moved to September 2016.
A hearing to assess court readiness will occur on Feb. 26 in San Bernardino Superior Court. The case has already experienced a number of delays due to legal wranglings and challenges that are not uncommon in a first degree murder case according to WATE News. The case was originally scheduled to occur in Joshua Tree Superior Court, but the only two judges in Joshua Tree were struck by defense challenges forcing a change of venue to San Bernardino Superior Courts.
In a December hearing, another motion by the defense was denied reports WATE News. The defense is certainly making good use of his billable hours in this high profile murder trial. No stone is going unturned in the case against Christopher Lee.
And that’s a good thing, as the more motions and challenges that are filed now, the less room there will be for appeal down the road. We’ve seen it time and time again in these relationship crime dramas. The most recent was during the Jodi Arias trial that cost Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars, and still counting.
The high profile case of Christopher Lee has all of the makings of another long protracted legal battle in the case of the murder of Erin Corwin. This is especially true in death penalty state California, where his case is being tried. Not only is Chris being charged with murder, but also of special circumstance charges known as lying in wait. It is this special circumstance, which if convicted, could make Lee death penalty eligible.
Expect every legal maneuver possible from the criminal defense team. Things are not looking good for Christopher Lee. Testimony revealed at his preliminary hearing was very damaging. The special circumstance charge of “lying in wait” is as heinous as it sounds. How did Erin go from, leaving for a walk one morning to the bottom of a mine shaft?
Bullet casings and materials for a nylone garote were found with her. More on this evidence will come out at trial. We do know that evidence matching this evidence was also found in the Jeep of the Lees.
Chris Lee also made very peculiar statements during the time frame that Erin was missing. As did his wife Nicole Lee. This was a couple that was friends with Erin and her husband Jonathan, and knew them well. Very well, apparently.
Chris Lee is alleged to have been the father of the child that Erin was pregnant with at the time of her death. Due to the fact that she was not found for weeks after the time she went missing, and presumably dead, an autopsy was unable to confirm a pregnancy due to decomposition. But ask the people that knew and loved Erin and sat with her in emergency rooms when she was experiencing symptoms and they will tell you.
Erin was absolutely pregnant at the time of her death. It is being considered the motive of her murder. Not only did Chris Lee make peculiar statements around the time of her disappearance, and even on the day of, so did his wife. Nicole Lee at one point told a friend that the police would “never find the body.”
She would later retract that statement and say she was talking about Law and Order episodes according to a search warrant in this case. Nicole Lee has not been charged with any crimes. Right after Erin went missing she and Christopher booked it to Alaska with their daughter. Because that doesn’t look guilty at all.
As soon as Erin was found, Christopher Lee was arrested and extradited back to California in a matter of hours. No charges have been laid against Nicole. But many people that knew her at some point have come forward to provide clues about her state of mind at the time of Erin’s disappearance, and even months before.
It is alleged that all parties in both couples knew of the extramarital affair between Erin and Christopher. Whether or not Erin and Jonathan Corwin ever discussed that is between them, but reports are that Jonathan did want to work through the marriage anyway. This happened in the winter before Erin went missing.
One source even tells us that Jonathan found out through Nicole about the affair. Sounds like a bit of a jealous wife to most people. What motivation could anybody have to hurt a marriage unless they were feeling jealous and vengeful?
And then it would turn out that Jonathan wanted to work through it and keep the marriage intact anyway. That might really tick off another wife that wanted to destroy that marriage like hers had been. According to the probable cause statement seen in the slideshow, the police say that Nicole made some very peculiar statements.
One or two on their own might seem innocuous. But when combined on the probable cause statement they do appear to make Nicole Lee look like a person of interest. You can view the entire statement in the slideshow with an excerpt here,
“On 070314, detectives went and interviewed Isabella in more detail about her association with Lee and his wife Nicole. Detectives learned Lee and Nicole were bringing their belongings from the residence they were moving out of…Nicole made statemeents to Isabella about the detectives having missed something at their residence when it was searched because the detectives did not search the garage. Nicole told Isabella that without a body the detectives did not have a case against them and the detectives would never find the body. Nicole stated Lee was worried because he did not have an alibi for 062914. Nicole has also berated Lee in front of Isabella about not being able to keep his lies straight when he was interviewed by detectives because he was dumb.”
Well, Nicole sounds like a real prize, doesn’t she? This is what happens when you interfere with your husband’s affair with a pregnant woman. You land on probable cause statements written by the police because somebody went first degree loco.
Both Nicole and Christopher appear to have a pretty solid motive for the day in question. We do not yet know what Nicole’s alibi is for the day in question.
Erin told her husband Jonathan one morning she was going for a hike, and days later Nicole Lee is calling her husband dumb and saying the police would never find the body and didn’t have enough evidence to make a case. Well, the police do now. And trial will begin Feb. 29.