Website Wars – The Corbins

Welcome to the worldwide web wars, where high-profile crimes are concerned. Local Atlanta news, specifically WAGA, Fox 5, just did a story on both Jennifer Corbin’s memorial site and the new site sponsored by Barton Corbin’s family,

Today it struck me, not for the first time, how so much information – events, such as certain crimes – has not made it on to the web yet. There is a strange cut-off point going backwards, around 1995, where researching subjects like the ones I cover at becomes a good deal more difficult. Old news stories are buried in online archives, usually services requiring pay, and some stories are completely neglected, unless an enterprising and vigilant family member gets a free geocities site and gets a photo and a testimony up there.

In 10 years that will most certainly no longer be a problem, though. Now, you can check out the victim’s memorial sites, often designed to emphasize the preciousness of the life lost – as they should be – and then go and see what the accused killer’s family has to say…

In this instance, it’s very pointed, and leaves this reader a bit mystified. A quote from the main page:

“…OUR purpose is to ask you to keep an open mind and think beyond what is published in the press and the website…” (Jennifer’s memorial page, maintained by her sister, Heather Tierney ~ S.H.) “…An innocent man is being persecuted who is, himself, a victim. He needs our support and he needs our help. We ask that you encourage him as he goes through the excruciating pain that is being forced upon him and to help him.

The case of the death of his wife is like an iceberg ñ only the tip is visible. What little fact makes it into the media is heavily and creatively edited. We ask you to keep an open mind and to know that for each “pseudo-fact” reported by the media or spread by other parties, there are many others to contradict it.

A gag order has been imposed upon all parties to the case.

Sadly, and as much as we would like to, we are not at liberty to correct the many half-truths, innuendo and outright lies that have previously been spread by some parties to the case.

We will take the high road…” (emphasis mine ~ S.H.)

The first thought that comes to mind is, ‘well, he is innocent until proven guilty…’. Then it occurs to me…is it the high road?

Like this:

“… The purpose of this website is not to seek sympathy for the family, whitewash Bart with emotional vignettes, or to spread anger, hatred and prejudice…”

The emphasis on “this” was not added by me. In that one sentence above, the true sentiment behind seems blatantly self-evident. The “whitewash(…)with emotional vignettes” is a direct slap at the caringbridge site devoted to Jennifer’s memory. In fact, it is a rather cutting and ugly thing to say – it seems to not only refute the implied message that is definitely found at the caringbridge site, where Jennifer’s death is referred to as a “crime”, but it ridicules the overall makeup of the site. Have the Corbins seen any other memorial sites? They all fit that bill – very few of us find it necessary in death to present a slavishly balanced portrait of our loved one. I wouldn’t, and the Barber family damn sure shouldn’t. It amuses me too that after reading those words I went on to read a site that was pretty much all whitewash…but I get ahead of myself.

On this page, the writer of the site’s text issues a blatant fiction –

“…(W)e’re willing to present a balanced view, and are happy to report that Bart was present and he does exist!”

that’s a blatant fiction in my book simply because the entire point of the site is to present a less-than balanced view of Barton Corbin. So don’t lie. Defense attorneys wouldn’t do that – everyone in the legal system is forced to admit it’s adversarial. The truth of the matter is, you will not find anything remotely resembling a “balanced” portrait of Jennifer or Barton at the websites devoted to them. And I for one certainly didn’t expect it, either.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff to read at, I’ll say that. There’s a good deal of a siege mentality at work. It’s hard for all the protestations regarding Bart Corbin’s basic saintliness – (He even provided free dental care for the Barbers, Jennifer’s family!) – to not sound brittle and over-emphatic after a while.

Strangest of all at the moment, to me, is the letter they link from the first page. The letter was written to Pastor Steve Woods of the Sugar Hills United Methodist Church, after Jennifer Corbin’s memorial service, by a person referring to themselves as a member of the “extended Corbin family.”

This is a letter written by someone in reference to a memorial service for a woman who, no matter how she died, still died of a gunshot wound to the head in the prime of her life. Homicide or suicide, it’s still an earthshaking tragedy. Yet Ms. Tims, the letter writer, felt so indignant at how poor Dr. Corbin was obviously viewed by all at the service that she had to give Pastor Woods the following piece of her mind:

“…The words spoken on Friday are the most un-Christian in spirit I have ever heard uttered in a House of God. For all that the words spoke of love, most of the speakersí hearts were full of an accusation that was transparent to all. That would constitute a lie in my understanding of Scripture. I believe that the Bible contains guidance on bearing false witness and an instruction to love your enemies more than yourself, be they real or perceived…”

Really? The MOST un-Christian in spirit?

Ms. Tims, I feel it is safe to say, is probably on in years, and therefore I won’t pick her hyperbole apart too much. But she seems to make Pastor Woods, and I guess others, out to be minions of Satan in her own mind, after that service. The “false witness” reference is quite confused, calling those who by Dec. 10, 2004 felt Dr. Corbin was a murderer liars, yet reminding them to love their enemies in the same breath – if the man is innocent, he’s not the enemy, is he?

Loretta at feels the key to the personalities of these men who have become famous through their bluebeard-like tendencies – high-profile wife-killers like Scott Peterson, accused killers like Bart Corbin – lays in understanding their malignant narcissism. I agree with her to a point – I just don’t think narcissism is the only answer. Antisocial tendencies play a part, perhaps even several other co-morbid problems like bipolar disorder, or a tendency towards schizoid delusions.

Reading the letter by Ms. Tims, that member of Bart Corbin’s “extended” family, reading the words on each page at Barton’s site, I begin to wonder something about that narcissism, though. No one who acts out of an abnormal psychopathology grows into who they are like a hothouse flower. It’s very rare for someone to wake up one day and just go kill another person. There is always a tightly laced web of influences at work throughout the perpetrator’s life that play some part.

Going over the writing found at that site designed by Bart Corbin’s friends, and most assuredly family, I begin to wonder if that malignant narcissism is a bit more like a disease that gets carried in the blood. Subtly present in an alarming number of kinfolk, it occasionally metastasizes in one of them, and like cancer it kills…but takes another life as proxy for the carrier.

(An addendum, 10:00 pm…tonight, through sheer happenstance – I was checking my referrals for The Dark Side – I found the following site: It is not affiliated with either the Corbin or Hearn families, and the site builders say they are not covered under the gag order. And if they were friends of Doc Corbin once, it damn sure looks like they aren’t anymore…)

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