'Life after verdict' for Curtis Lovelace brings him back to Champaign-Urbana

Lovelace moved back to Champaign-Urbana and opened the Lovelace Center for Criminal Defense. Lovelace says he'll work to help those who have also been wronged by the criminal justice system. (WCCU).

Curtis Lovelace talked life after verdict.

A life where many think...

"'I know he did it. He's guilty. He got away with it.' And that's just what I have to live with the rest of my life," Curtis Lovelace said.

The former Illini football captain and Illinois prosecutor gave a presentation Thursday at the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club event.

Lovelace was acquitted for murder charges in March 2017, but filed a civil suit against the City of Quincy and Adams County claiming he was subjected to ‘malicious prosecution.’

It all started with what is known as the Valentine's Day Death—referring to February 14, 2006 when Cory Lovelace was found dead in their Quincy home.

Curtis Lovelace was her husband, and eventually murder suspect.

Quincy investigators cracked open the cold case in 2014, accusing Lovelace of smothering his wife on that Valentine’s Day in 2006.

Two and a half years and one mistrial later, Lovelace was set free with a final verdict.

But the not-guilty verdict only swayed the minds of so many.

“We knew we wouldn't be able to start our life in a community where a percentage of people looked at me as a person who got away with murder,” Lovelace said.

At Thursday’s event, Lovelace told this story to a crowd where many knew him for his time on the field, and not behind bars.

“I can remember watching him, he was an outstanding football player,” Former Illini athlete and Champaign-Urbana resident said.

Stevenson believes Lovelace’s tough spirit as an athlete is what got him through these trying years.

“Two and a half years in jail for something he didn't do,” Stevenson said. “And yet he never quit.”

Stevenson is happy to have Lovelace back.

"It's good to have tough people around you,” Stevenson said.

Lovelace continues his fight—not just for his own justice, but for others.

He’s opened the Lovelace Center for Criminal Defense in Champaign-Urbana. His goal is to help those who have been wrongly accused, prosecuted, or charged by the Champaign County judicial system.

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