'Secrets of a Marine's Wife': Why did Christopher Lee kill pregnant Erin Corwin?
It was a flirtation that turned fatal and in Lifetime's upcoming film 'Secrets of a Marine's Wife' we see how nineteen-year-old Erin Corwin (Sadie Calvano) began an affair with her neighbor, 27-year old Marine Christopher Lee (Tom Stevens) that would eventually lead to her losing her life at his hands. To add to this gruesome tragedy, it was Lee's child that Erin was expecting. The film is based on a true story based on the Erin Corwin case that shocked the nation in 2014, when the pregnant nineteen-year-old who went missing, was finally discovered two months later down a mineshaft, following a grueling search. While Erin's husband Major Jon Corwin (Evan Roderick), also a Marine was initially the prime suspect, it soon came to light that it was in fact Lee who killed her.
Lee admitted to the crime saying it was a crime of passion. But bizarrely it wasn't jealousy or a lover's disagreement that Lee claimed was the reason he strangled Erin. Lee claimed that he killed Erin because she admitted to molesting his young daughter who she often spent time with. At the time of the trial, he said, "I was controlled by the anger. The hate I felt that day, it was something I never want to experience again." If you enjoy films on true crime, then other Lifetime films such as 'Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos', 'Girl in the Basement' and 'A House on Fire' should interest you.
Lee's claims that Erin molested his daughter, have been seen by many as simply Lee's desperate attempt to deflect the blame for Erin's death. The California court noted in their ruling that “no one ever raised a concern about Erin’s interaction with the child [Lee’s daughter]” who she cared for from time to time. But how did what started off as simply a flirtation, end up being a disaster that took Erin's life.
Both Erin and Lee were having trouble in their marriages. Erin and her husband had been growing increasingly distant, especially after she suffered a miscarriage. With her husband often deployed for weeks at a time, Erin it seems began to seek comfort in the attention of Lee. While it may have started out as just a distraction for Erin and Lee who were both unhappy in their marriages, it appears that genuine feelings soon began to develop. Lee, in fact, even penned a love note to Erin, which makes the brutality of her murder even more difficult to understand.
Lee did have a history of being rash and reckless when it came to weapons particularly and other Marines reportedly observed that he often used rifles and rocket launchers like they were toys. This combined with a darkness to his personality, which perhaps drew Erin to him and vice versa, since he sensed a fellow troubled soul, created a potent combination for disaster. Perhaps Lee when he discovered that Erin was pregnant with his child began to panic and feel he was in over his head and could lose his livelihood and his family.
While Lee may have insisted that Erin's murder was not pre-meditated, he was found guilty of first-degree murder regardless. Lee is now incarcerated at the California Institution for Men and the ex-Marine will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars.
To find out more about the affair that led to the tragic death of Erin Corwin, you can catch 'Secrets Of a Marine's Wife' which premieres on Lifetime on Saturday, June 19 at 8/7c. You can catch the trailer here.