The Deadly Dentist: Bart Corbin
Saturday, December 4, 2004, began for Kelly Comeau with a frantic knock on the front door. She was shocked to find her neighbors' and best friends’ son standing on her doorstep in his underwear, crying and shaking uncontrollably. The shock would turn to horror, however, when the child finally managed to choke out why he’d come rushing to the Comeau house dressed so scantly. “My Daddy shot my mom!,” said Dalton Corbin, “My Daddy shot my mom!”
Marrying Bart Corbin
When Jennifer Barber discovered she was pregnant only a few months into her relationship with Bart Corbin, he wanted to do the right thing and so he proposed. On Sunday, September 1, 1996, 32-year-old Bart Corbin tied the knot with 25-year-old, 3-months-pregnant Jennifer in a lavish ceremony in the garden of the Craven Pottery plant.
Following the birth of their son Dalton in March 1997, Jennifer discovered she loved being a mother. Fortunately, Bart’s thriving dental practice provided them with an income that allowed Jennifer to be a full time mother. She was happy and content with life.
When Jennifer announced she was pregnant again in the Spring of 1998, the couple realized they were going to need more space than the Lawrenceville, Georgia, house they were currently living in and bought a new home at 4515 Bogan Gates Drive in the exclusive Atlanta suburb of Buford. It was here they would bring home their second son, Dillon Corbin, in January 1999.
A new home, two beautiful, healthy sons, and a successful business – what more could the Corbins ask for?
Good Bart, Bad Bart
Most mornings during the summer months, Bart would take his wife and sons to her father’s houseboat moored at the Sunrise Cover Marina before heading off to work. Bart would join his family for a cruise to Italy or the Caribbean at least once every year.
While school was in session, Jennifer spent her days volunteering at the boys’ schools and serving as a member of the PTA. On the days she wasn’t needed, she often spent a few hours hanging out with neighbor Kelly.
Everything seemed so…well, perfect.
As the boys grew and began participating in marital arts, football, baseball, and basketball, a different side of Bart began to emerge that usually was only seen by immediate family, his staff, and an occasional patient. This Bart was short-tempered and prone to throwing tantrums, often belittling a son who he saw as falling short of his potential with insults such as “idiot,” “cry baby,” and “whiner.”
Needless to say, Bart’s sons were growing fearful of their father.
It was around this time inexplicable transfers of property, including the home, began taking place between Bart and Jennifer. These transfers would occur several times over the next two years, with Bart and Jennifer trading ownership of their home and houseboat; even making the exchanges official with filings through the Court.
Although the reasons for these odd exchanges have never been explained, one thing was obvious: something was amiss at the Corbins'.
And So It Begins. To End.
Although Jennifer seemed unaware of it, Bart was having an affair with his receptionist started the snowball rolling in the tragic ending to the Corbins' marriage. She never mentioned it to anyone but it could explain why in January 2004, Jennifer began experiencing what many believed was a midlife crisis. She started working out to lose the weight gained during her second pregnancy.
While Jennifer had taken to fitness, so had she to a multiplayer online role playing game known as EverQuest. She spent several hours each day playing the game and even took to missing the long-standing tradition of "football Sundays" at her in-laws'.
As Jennifer’s time on EverQuest continued to get longer and longer, she and Bart began arguing with more frequency and intensity. Bart began complaining to friends and family that Jennifer spent too much time on the internet, leaving her little time for him and the boys.
During one of their arguments about the amount of time she spent online, Jennifer told Bart she wanted out of the marriage and would find her own place to live. The argument was followed by a more civilized discussion wherein Bart agreed to let Jennifer and the boys live in the home and he would move out. Yet the next time an argument arose, Bart told Jennifer she could keep the house only if she figured out how to pay for it herself.
And that’s just what she did. Jennifer got a job as a teacher at the Sugar Hill Methodist Church preschool.
It was her first step toward freedom.
It was just after Bart and Jennifer’s eighth anniversary, and not long after she had told him she wanted a divorce, when she began a steamy internet affair with another EverQuest player named Chris from Missouri.
As the weeks passed, the emails and online chats between Jennifer and Chris became more intense and very much x-rated. Bart, still ensconced in his own affair, was no stranger to the signs of infidelity and began suspecting Jennifer was having her own affair. He began searching the house and her car looking for signs of a lover.
On Friday, November 10, 2004, however, Jennifer’s online lover would reveal a secret that would rock her world: Chris was actually a woman named Anita Hearn.
Jennifer was devastated…and confused. She’d fallen so hard for Chris, only to learn the man she had fallen so deeply in love with, shared her most intimate secrets with, was a married mother with children.
At first, Jennifer wasn’t sure what to do or say; crying herself to sleep the first evening after learning her internet lover’s true identity. After a few more email exchanges, however, Jennifer decided, regardless of gender, she was in love.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approached, Jennifer and Anita began making plans to meet and consummate their love for one another.
Out of the Mouth of Babes
Thanksgiving 2004 was filled with tension as the Corbins celebrated the holiday with family at Jennifer’s sister’s home in Dawsonville, Georgia. Bart spent most of the day brooding in the basement while Jennifer happily chatted with her family upstairs.
The festivities abruptly ended when Bart at 6:00 p.m. demanded it was time for he and his family to return home. The boys, who had been having a great deal of fun with their cousins, didn’t want to leave. Jennifer, however, sensing Bart’s foul mood, ordered the boys to the car.
As they neared home, Jennifer pulled into a grocery store to grab a few needed items. Bart took the opportunity to search the car. Jennifer had also left her purse in the car, in which Bart found a romantic poem she had received in an email.
When Jennifer returned to the car, Bart confronted her with the poem. As her husband screamed at her from the passenger seat, Jennifer started the engine and pointed the car toward home. This only further enraged Bart and he suddenly punched Jennifer in the face, as the boys cowered in the backseat. Dalton became hysterical as his parents fought.
As the car came to a stop in the driveway of their home, Bart jumped from Jennifer’s car and into his; speeding off into the night. With a bruised face, Jennifer scuttled the boys inside and called her father for help. After a long conversation, it was decided Jennifer and the boys would go back to her sister's home and stay there until they could decide what to do next.
On Monday, November 29, 2004, Bart Corbin filed for divorce. In the pleadings, Bart asked for custody of the children and to be awarded all of the couples’ assets, including the house on Bogan Gates Drive.
The next day Bart secretly drove to Troy, Alabama, where he met with his friend Richard Wilson and borrowed a .38 Smith & Wesson with the excuse Jennifer was having an affair and he feared for his life.
Bart had no idea his his young son had become so concerned for his mother, he had taken to telling people at school he though Jennifer's life was in danger.
Out of Control
By December 1, Jennifer had returned to the Corbin home and was trying to go about business as usual until she could find her own place but on that morning, she discovered the contents of her purse scattered about the bedroom floor. Her new cell phone, a credit card, and some personal papers were missing. She knew Bart had taken them.
Rushing into the bathroom where Bart was just stepping out of the shower, Jennifer confronted him about the missing items. Bart flew into a rage! Grabbing only a towel, Bart stormed out of the house. Jennifer, angry at the violation, chased Bart down the stairs and out of the house, screaming she was going to call 911.
As Bart’s Ford Mustang sprang to life, an emergency dispatcher listened as Jennifer, in a desperate attempt to get her cell phone, rushed to the car. With the operator still on the line, Bart continued to back up and ran over Jennifer’s foot as she screamed, “No! No! No!," as the sound of a child’s screams and crying could be heard in the background.
When police arrived, however, Jennifer insisted she wasn’t hurt and refused to press charges against Bart. Police had no option but to leave without making an arrest.
Realizing things had gotten out of hand, Jennifer and Bart agreed it needed to stop and they would make an effort at better behavior for the boys’ sake. The next few days, Jennifer, as her family later said, was troubled but tried to carry on as usual; going Christmas shopping with her sister and joining in their traditional Friday night cocktails. And, of course, she was still planning to meet Anita; although she didn’t share this detail with her family.
Things seemed to be reaching an even keel in the Corbin household. But if truth be told, it was simply the calm before the storm.
Nobody Leaves Bart Corbin – Alive
Steve Comeau watched his neighbor pull into his garage around 1:45 a.m. on December 4, 2004. He thought it kind of strange Bart would pull in but not shut off the engine. Steve watched for a moment as he finished his cigarette, then shut off the house lights and went to bed.
No one can ever know for certain exactly what happened that night except Bart and Jennifer, but evidence suggests Bart tiptoed up to Jennifer and, using a pillow to muffle the sound, shot his sleeping wife in the back of the head at point blank range, killing her instantly. He then pulled Jennifer’s body into a semi-sitting position and placed the gun in her hand.
Feeling confident he’d made it appear Jennifer had committed suicide, Bart left the house. Steve hadn’t quite made it to be bed yet and from a window he Bart’s truck speed out of the Corbins’ driveway, Steve remembered thinking to himself, “I hope he didn’t do anything stupid.”
If Bart had known what his neighbor was thinking, he may have quietly chuckled to himself. This wasn’t his first rodeo with murder. He’d created this exact scenario almost sixteen years earlier with a girlfriend who’d broken up with him.
And he’d gotten away with it all these years.
Dorothy “Dolly” Carlisle Hearn
Dolly Hearn had dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps as a dentist. In 1987, she began the final step to achieving her goal when she enrolled in the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in Augusta, Georgia.
It was here Dolly met Bart Corbin, a fellow dental student. Close friends of the couple would later say it was love at first sight for both of them and they began spending every spare moment together.
Just months into the relationship, Bart proposed marriage. Bart’s insistence Dolly make such a strong commitment to the relationship took her by surprise and she declined Bart’s offer explaining she wanted to finish dental school before she contemplated marriage. Yet instead of Bart giving Dolly the time she needed, he continued to pressure her to accept his proposal and he began demanding to know where she was at all times and with whom.
Dolly told several friends about Bart’s obsession with her and they watched as she began withdrawing into herself under the pressure. So they weren’t surprised, and were relieved, when Dolly finally summoned the strength to break up with her obsessive boyfriend.
Bart fell apart emotionally and begged Dolly to stay. At first, she held her ground but Bart’s despondency, pleading, and hints of committing suicide eventually wore Dolly down and she agreed to take him back – against the advice of her friends. By November 1989, however, Dolly had had enough and she told Bart it was really, finally over for good. She told friends she was determined to put Bart in the past and move forward with her life.
Within days of the break-up, strange things began happening to Dolly Hearn; such as finding windows and doors open in her apartment she knew had been closed and vandalism to her car. She was so certain Bart was responsible for these occurrences, she filed a police report noting her suspicions but not wanting to ruin Bart’s career, Dolly declined to press charges.
The harassment continued and it escalated with Bart stealing Dolly’s dental tools, tampering with her contact lens solution, and finally to taking her beloved cat, Tabitha. Dolly became so afraid of Bart she borrowed her father’s handgun and carried it everywhere she went.
On Wednesday, June 6, 1989, Dolly’s roommate returned home to find Dolly lying on the couch, covered in blood, and the .38 revolver laying in her lap. Despite the statements of friends about her trouble with Bart Corbin and the police reports Dolly had filed wherein she accused Bart of harassing her, the death was declared a suicide.
Fifteen years later, following the death of Bart’s wife, police would take a second look at Dolly’s death with a whole different outlook.
Justice Delayed But Not Denied
Almost immediately, investigators believed Jennifer’s death to be a homicide. Once forensics technicians arrives, their suspicions were confirmed.
People were talking. Jennifer’s family and friends, including neighbors Steve and Kelly Comeau, as well as people at Dalton’s school whom he had told he feared for his mother’s safety. Bart was quickly looking more like a murder suspect than a widower.
Two hundred miles away in Washington, Georgia, Dolly Hearn’s family could only think, “He’s done it again” and wonder if Bart would get away with murder a second time.
In the course of their investigation, detectives learned about Dolly’s “suicide” and the case was re-opened. Upon further examination, Dolly’s manner of death changed from suicide to homicide – and Bart Corbin was the prime suspect.
Bart never returned home and ignored efforts of neighbors and in-laws to reach him about Jennifer's death because he was already huddled with a criminal defense attorney. Thinking only of himself, Bart's plan had failed to make arrangements for his young children who were left to struggle alone to under what had happened to their mother.
Even without interviewing Bart, investigators had what they needed and just three days before Christmas 2004, Bart was indicted for the murder of Dolly Hearn followed by an indictment in January 2005 for Jennifer’s death.
In August 2006, Bart Corbin was ready to take his chances with a jury; that is, until his old friend Richard Wilson finally confessed to police he had lent the gun used to kill Jennifer to Bart less than a week before her death.
Realizing he was cornered, Bart opted to plead guilty to the murder of his wife and former girlfriend. He was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences and will be eligible for parole in late 2020. As of this writing, Bart is a guest of the Dodge State Prison in Chester, Georgia.
Two days after Bart’s conviction, his twin brother Brad visited him and asked why he would kill Dolly and Jennifer. Bart said it was because he felt disrespected by Dolly’s and Jennifer’s affairs.
One has to wonder if Bart grasps the concept that Dolly didn’t cheat on him, she dumped him or if he realizes killing Jennifer for having having an affair while he himself was having his own is as hypocritical as one can get.
Probably not, but at least this deadly man is a danger no more to the women who may have been unfortunate to have known Bart Corbin.
And Last But Not Least
Jennifer’s sister, Heather Tierney, officially adopted Dalton and Dillon.
If you would like to help make sure Bart Corbin never sees the outside world again, please take a moment to contact the Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons at:
The Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
Please be sure to reference case number EF 613182, date of conviction 9/15/2006 in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
A movie about the Corbin case based onAnn Rule‘s excellent book and namesake Too Late To Say Goodbye originally aired in November 2007 but frequently reruns on the Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) or is available for purchase on DVD at Amazon.
Questions & Answers
© 2016 Kim Bryan