Man found guilty of killing fellow Marine’s pregnant wife
A man was convicted Thursday of killing a U.S. Marine’s wife and dumping her body in a 140-foot mine shaft just days after he confessed to the slaying on the witness stand.
A San Bernardino County jury found Christopher Brandon Lee, 27, guilty of murder. Jurors also found true a special sentencing enhancement that Lee was lying in wait for his married lover, 19-year-old Erin Corwin, in June 2014, according to the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office
“This was a terrible crime that showed absolutely no regard for the value of human life,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said in a statement issued shortly after Lee’s conviction. “Erin Corwin was just a young girl with her entire life ahead of her. And now, all that’s left is her memory.”
Lee’s sentencing was set for Nov. 29. He faces life without the possibility of parole.
The conviction comes after Lee admitted to the killing Oct. 27 during questioning by his attorney, David Kaloyanides.
According to The Desert Sun newspaper, Lee testified that he killed Corwin because he believed she had molested his daughter.
When asked Thursday if there was any truth to Lee’s claim, district attorney spokesman Christopher Lee said, “We just can’t talk about any of the testimony at this point.”
Investigators said Corwin and Lee, who were next-door neighbors at a military base in Twentynine Palms, were having an affair. Corwin was pregnant with his child when she was killed.
Corwin was reported missing by her husband on June 28, 2014, when she did not return home from a trip to Joshua Tree National Park.
Authorities scoured the desert for weeks before finding her body on Aug. 16, 2014, in the abandoned mine shaft outside of Twentynine Palms.
Lee was arrested in Alaska, a day after search crews found Corwin’s body.
He moved to Alaska with his wife and daughter after being discharged from the Marines in July.
For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.
3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment from San Bernardino County District Attorney spokesman Christopher Lee.
This article was originally published at 2:50 p.m.
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