Originally created 01/22/05

Lawyers say dentist will not return to Augusta

LAWRENCEVILLE - Dr. Barton Corbin, who is charged with murder in the deaths of his wife and former Augusta girlfriend, will remain in Gwinnett County as his case moves forward, his attorneys said Friday.

Dr. Corbin had been held in Augusta since last month, after a Richmond County grand jury indicted him in connection with the death of Dorothy "Dolly" Hearn in 1990.

He also was indicted recently in Gwinnett County in the December shooting death of his estranged wife, Jennifer. Through attorneys, Dr. Corbin has said he is innocent in both cases. Dr. Corbin was transferred to Gwinnett County earlier this week.

He appeared in court Friday for the first time for a hearing regarding who would preside as judge in the Gwinnett County trial.

His attorneys had requested that Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell-Conner be put back on the case after she recused herself.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Michael Clark denied that motion, allowing Judge Conner to step down. One of Dr. Corbin's attorneys, Bruce Harvey, said he planned to appeal that decision and an earlier ruling that did not allow them a change in venue before the Gwinnett grand jury heard the case.

Mr. Harvey said the Georgia Supreme Court granted an order to consolidate the two appeals, allowing Dr. Corbin's attorneys to file applications by the end of this month.

He also said they waived Dr. Corbin's right for arraignment hearings in both counties.

"Really, there's nothing scheduled out there," he said about the court schedule. "The judge is also going to issue an order for housing in Gwinnett County pending further resolution."

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (404) 589-8424 or vicky.eckenrode@morris.com.


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