- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) - A judge on Friday ordered a new trial for a former Illinois prosecutor charged with murder in the Valentine’s Day 2006 death of his first wife, after jurors said they couldn’t reach a verdict.

Judge Bob Hardwick declared a mistrial Friday evening in the trial of Curtis Lovelace, who has pleaded not guilty to killing 38-year-old Cory Lovelace. A retrial was set for May 31.

The first trial in Adams County, where Curtis Lovelace was once an assistant state’s attorney, lasted two weeks. Jurors began deliberating Thursday afternoon, but the jury foreman said Friday they were deadlocked.

Lovelace said he found his wife dead in bed after dropping off three of their children at school.

An initial autopsy was inconclusive, but prosecutors argued that subsequent forensic tests and photographic evidence determined the mother of four died from suffocation.

Two of the couple’s sons, now teenagers, testified that they saw their mother alive the morning of her death, a time frame that contradicted the state’s theory that Lovelace used a pillow to kill his wife in her sleep. But their older sister testified that she was not certain she saw their mother before school.

Lovelace was arrested in 2014 after a Quincy detective took a fresh look at the case. He could have faced between 20 and 60 years in prison if convicted. He did not testify in his own defense.

The 47-year-old Lovelace graduated from the University of Illinois’ law school. He also played football at the university. He was a team captain, three-year starting center and two-time All-Big Ten standout.

A three-sport prep star and Quincy High School Hall of Fame member, Lovelace returned to his western Illinois hometown after college and married Cory, a former high school classmate. He was elected to the local school board in 1999 and was its president for eight of his 12 years in office.

Lovelace also joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 2009, attaining the rank of captain and serving as a trial defense lawyer for soldiers facing disciplinary actions.

A special state prosecutor handled the murder case against Lovelace because of Lovelace’s seven-year stint as an assistant county prosecutor.

Lovelace married twice more after his first wife’s death. His second wife - the two divorced in 2013 - was a potential witness for prosecutors but a judge last month rejected their request to have her testify.

Curtis and Cory Lovelace’s two youngest children, ages 14 and 17, continue to live with Curtis Lovelace’s third wife.

Curtis Lovelace was sent to the Adams County Jail on Friday and will be taken back to the Hancock County Jail, where he had been prior to his trial.

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