July 31, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
79°F
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Wife: Cop was abusive

ELYRIA — On May 16, 1984, Laura Earl said “I do” when she married Lorain police officer Corey Earl.

Wednesday she said “I do” again, this time when her attorney asked her if she thought her estranged husband — currently in the county jail for violating a temporary protection order — would cause her harm.

“I’ve been married to Corey for 23 years. He’s aggressive, controlling, extremely jealous. He has rage. He has been abusive,” Laura Earl told county Domestic Relations Magistrate Rene Zafarana during a hearing on whether the protection order barring Corey Earl from coming near her — and prevents him from carrying a gun — should be kept in place. “Corey has said many, many times to me that nobody will ever have me except him.”

Zafarana is expected to decide in a few weeks whether the protection order should remain in effect.

Corey Earl has been on paid medical leave from his job with Lorain police since Aug. 20, when he reportedly went to the Amherst home he once shared with his wife in the early morning with a handgun in his waistband. Laura Earl told police that she awoke to find him standing in the doorway.

He then reportedly went into the bathroom and said he was going to kill himself, a threat she said Wednesday that she’d heard before during their marriage and something she’d always talked him out of doing.

Laura Earl said she thought her husband — who filed for divorce from her in March — was going to kill her and then kill himself. She said she spent about 30 minutes convincing him to give her his gun.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen his eyes like that, wild,” she said.

The Aug. 20 incident was the third time Laura Earl called Amherst police on her husband.

On July 6, she complained that he had thrown items and threatened to hit her. A few days later, she said Wednesday, Corey Earl ransacked her home, dumping out her possessions, taking his television and snapping a crucifix on her wall in half.

She also told the magistrate that Corey Earl threatened to “smash her face” and kill her.

Laura also contacted Amherst police on Aug. 13 about text messages that Corey Earl had sent her.

Corey Earl was arrested Saturday for allegedly violating the temporary protection order that barred him from carrying a gun and from coming within 500 feet of his wife. Amherst police have not released details of that incident, but they have said it didn’t involve a gun.

He was ordered to undergo a third mental health examination Wednesday before he can be released from the county jail. If he passes the examination, he will be released, but he will have to wear an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor his movements.

Corey Earl wasn’t at the hearing, but his attorney, Jonathan Rosenbaum, attacked Laura Earl’s credibility, saying she was lying to get their home in the divorce and to ruin her husband’s career.

His client, he said, had done nothing wrong.

“His only mistake is he still wants to be married to her,” Rosenbaum said. “Why, I’ll never understand.”

He also questioned why Laura Earl never told Amherst police nor Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera about the threats she said Corey Earl made to kill her or an incident earlier in the year when he allegedly threw her to the ground when he found her drinking in a bar while taking an antidepressant.

There was no evidence that Corey Earl had tried to harm her or even threatened her, Rosenbaum said.

“The fact that she chooses to say she’s afraid is not legally sufficient (to justify the protection order),” Rosenbaum said.

Laura Earl said she kept quiet about a lot of what Corey Earl had said and done to protect him.

“I was afraid that Corey would lose his career,” she said. “I was going on promises made to me.”

Both Rivera and Amherst Police Chief Lonnie Dillon had told her they would make sure that Corey Earl would get help and stay away from her. They also told her, she said, to change the locks on her house.

But Dillon later testified that he never told her to change the locks. Another Amherst officer said Laura Earl told him she first learned about protection orders from him, even though she had already said she was aware of them. That same officer denied telling her that she should give her estranged husband a key to the new locks, as Laura Earl said he did.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.