VICTORVILLE, Calif. (WATE) – A former Marine has been found guilty of murdering a pregnant woman originally from Oak Ridge.
Christopher Lee was found guilty of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement of having intentionally killed the victim by lying in wait. The jury deliberated for about two hours Thursday afternoon. Sentencing is scheduled for November 29. He faces life without the possibility of parole.
During trial earlier this week, Lee admitted to strangling Erin Corwin, the wife of another Marine, and pushing her head-first down an abandoned mine shaft in the remote California desert. Lee is suspected of having an affair with Corwin.
Previous story: Ex-Marine admits on stand to killing Oak Ridge pregnant woman
According to the Desert Sun, Lee says he decided to kill Corwin because he was controlled by anger and hate. He testified that Corwin had molested a family member.
Corwin is originally from Oak Ridge. She went missing two years ago. Weeks later, searchers found her remains in a mine shaft in a California desert.
Erin Corwin’s mother responds to guilty verdict
Lore Heavilin said the hardest part was not knowing what the jury was thinking before the decision. She said the verdict does not give her closure but after more than two years since her daughter’s murder, Heavilin said she is relieved.
“I have to say I had one of the worst headaches I have had in a long time last night,” said Heavilin.
Heavilin worried about the jury’s decision for more of the night on Wednesday, the day before the verdict.
“You wanted to hear it but yet you were afraid to hear it,” said Heavilin.
For two years, Heavilin flew to California every couple of weeks for the hearings.
“Every time there was a hearing, your emotional scab would get ripped off.” said Heavilin.
However, she felt it was necessary to be here.
“I felt like it was the last time I could really support her,” said Heavilin.
Heavilin said hearing Lee on the stand explaining why he killed Corwin was the hardest part of the trial.
“You hoped and prayed they saw the truth,” said Heavilin.
Heavilin said it is hard to have closure after losing somebody in such a violent manner. She said she refuses to be angry at Lee.
“He has taken enough from me. I’m not going to give him my heart and my mind and my soul,” said Heavilin.