A man who confessed to strangling the pregnant wife of a U.S. Marine during his testimony in San Bernardino County Superior Court this week was convicted of murder Thursday, officials announced.
Christopher Brandon Lee, 27, was found guilty of one felony count of first degree murder, and jurors found true a special allegation that he intentionally killed Erin Corwin, 19, while lying in wait, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
Corwin’s body was found in an abandoned mineshaft outside of Twentynine Palms on Aug. 16, 2014.
“This was a terrible crime that showed absolutely no regard for the value of human life,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said in a news release.
“Erin Corwin was just a young girl with her entire life ahead of her. And now, all that’s left is her memory. While justice was served today, it can only be a small consolation to her family and friends who will have to suffer a lifetime of pain knowing she died such a senseless death.”
Corwin, whose husband was also a Marine, and Lee were former neighbors and were alleged to have been having an affair.
Lee took Corwin — whose husband was stationed in Twentynine Palms — to the desert in June 2014. She thought the two would share a romantic evening that would include a marriage proposal, the Desert Sun reported, citing Lee’s testimony.
But when they ended up outside a mine shaft, Lee wanted to try to kill himself, according to the report.
He said he was distraught over being denied a deployment, but was also angry because he believed Corwin had molested his daughter.
Lee testified that he made the decision to kill Corwin. He admitted to strangling her and pushing her down the mine shaft head first, the newspaper reported.
Lee was arrested in Alaska on Aug. 17, 2014.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 29, the DA’s office said. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.