Does Atlanta Have It’s Very Own…

(Um, er, I’m back! Yep – dropped off the metblogs radar there for a bit, in part due to my personal blog’s popularity picking up – one thousand hits in a day never happened until about two weeks ago – and due to some health issues that took the rest of my attention. But I’ve returned, for better or worse…now on with the rest o’ the blog entry.)

Scott Peterson?

It looks more and more each day like Dr. Barton Corbin got some ‘splainin’ to do.
From the AJC article:

“…Dr. Barton Corbin, a Dacula dentist who has been named as a suspect in Corbin’s death.

Barton Corbin attended his wife’s funeral on Friday and was back working at his office on Braselton Highway Monday morning.

A receptionist at his dental office said he was working with a patient Monday morning and would not be available for comment.

He abruptly shut the office at noon, closed the blinds and did not return…”

An interesting aspect of this event, the death of Dr. Corbin’s wife Jennifer on December 4, at first thought to be a suicide, is the fact that another woman close to Dr. Corbin also met her death at the end of a gun barrel, back in the 90’s.

Dolly Hearn was a dental student living in Augusta, Georgia, in 1990 when she died. She died from a single gunshot wound to the head, just like Jennifer Corbin. At the time it was ruled a suicide and her mourning friends and family went on, memorializing her with a scholarship in her name at the Medical College of Georgia.

The usual things were said by friends and family – suicide is a very hard thing to accept, I know this well, and there’s a tendency in some families to search for any other reason, any other cause for death. So many suicides are said to have been ‘fine’, and ‘not the type to get down’, and so many suicides spark dark ponderings on the part of the bereaved. The mind seeks some cause that will remove the responsibility from the shoulders of the loved one, because the irrational nature of self-slaughter is so difficult to accept.

Officers of the law know this well, and they become skilled at deflecting the worries and suspicions if the evidence supports only suicide as an answer.

I get the feeling all of this transpired after Dolly Hearn died in Augusta 14 years ago, and Dr. Barton Corbin may have sighed with relief at some point. If he had anything to do with Dolly’s passing.

Twelve days ago in a pleasant suburb in Sugar Hill, in Gwinnett county Georgia, a popping sound ruptured the night, which in that bucolic place was surely otherwise very quiet. Not long after that, Jennifer Corbin’s 7-year-old son was racing towards a neighbor’s house, and telling them once he got there that Daddy did it.

Atlanta has often placed 3rd and 4th behind cities like Detroit in national crime statistics; we all know bad things happen here on a rather regular basis. But just outside of Atlanta, generally in a region folks who live inside the boundaries of I-285 just call “OTP” (Outside The Perimeter), usually with a touch of derision, the existence seems more idyllic. Sugar Hill, Flowery Branch, the Buford area is home to monied Atlanta Falcons players, there are fine golf courses up that way and the largest, most squeaky-clean mall in the state is in Buford, Georgia. It would appear to be the place to go if you like the ‘red-state’ aspect of living in Georgia – conservative christianity, good schools with timid school boards, lots of money to make, too. It feels very far from downtown Atlanta, from the openly liberal lifestyles of those in Midtown and the poor in the South Side. The Corbins even attended the Sugar Hill United Methodist Church, and Jennifer was a preschool teacher there. An exterior shot on the local news of Dr. Corbin’s office showed a neat, low brick building, identical to every other medical office I’ve seen in the upper-middle class neighborhoods outside and north of the Perimeter. They were living, it seems, a peculiarly Georgia version of The Dream, whatever the hell that is.

It’s trite at this point for someone who has felt the outsider for the better part of his life to enjoy the vacant soul of suburbia being laid bare. And indeed, enjoy would be the wrong word. Two young boys have lost a mother in a terrible way, and another family may very well have lost a daughter to an allegedly deadly dentist.

If anything there is some grim affirmation for me when such stories break – I look back on the family I’m from, the lower-class rural neighborhood where I was raised, and am reminded that money buys nothing but a bigger house and better clothes.

Evil will out, like it did when Scott Peterson told his bland lies to his paramour in the cell phone conversations heard over and over again on Court TV. Perhaps like it has now that a particular Dentist in Sugar Hill, Georgia has allegedly decided there is always a quicker way than the complex tortures of divorce to end a marriage.

(Since I first posted this blog entry here – you are reading an edited and updated version – it has come to light that Jennifer Corbin may have met another man in Missouri via the Internet, and that this may have had something to do with her demise. So, one way or the other, the evil ol’ web has struck again as well.)

2 Comments so far

  1. C.F. Jackson (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2004 @ 12:38 pm

    I would like to inquire, which may lead to an interesting story: How many suicide

    cases are actual murder cases?

    One of the oldest forms of death that can often be manipulated to suit a killer, suicide.

    So many families have questioned or protested the death of those they love. From

    self inflicted stabbings, hangings, gunshots, and so forth, can all be distorted by a


    Whose to know the truth of a person’s death, if it’s not a true suicide? Just as the

    14 year-old case in Augusta.

    Just as in this situation, the newly release suspense novel, Won’t Be Denied, threads

    on the same MO as the Gwinnett dentist. The main character seeks to make a way

    to commit a crime that misleads the police as a sign of suicide.

    How prevalent are murders portrayed as suicides?

    Thank you for your time.


    C.F. Jackson

  2. Georgia Washington (unregistered) on December 27th, 2004 @ 8:36 pm

    I wanted to post on your comment about Dr. Corbin. There are many of us watching to see how this turns out for exactly the reasons you stated in your comment.

    I grew up in the same town as Dolly, and I knew her. She never seemed the type to end her own life.

    I know the Hearn family and the only thing I can think to wish for them, is that they find peace in this somehow…someway…


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