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Corbin not a suspect in third death

LAWRENCEVILLE - Investigators no longer consider convicted killer Barton Corbin a suspect in the slaying of an Alabama woman who was a work acquaintance.

Corbin, a Dacula dentist who pleaded guilty last week in the shooting deaths of his wife and graduate school girlfriend, had only a loose connection with Harriett Gray, according to Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Chuck Ross. Gray reportedly worked for a dentist who is a former partner of Corbin.

Gray's case is also different from that of Corbin's wife, Jennifer, and his ex-girlfriend, Dorothy "Dolly" Hearn, both of whom were shot once in the head. Gray's body was found submerged in Lake Tuscaloosa in 1997, her hands taped to the steering wheel, a year after she disappeared from her Tucker home.

"Our office has sent investigators, they met with police investigators in Alabama, and at this point we have no evidence that Bart was connected," Ross said. "If there was even an iota of evidence, we would go after that."

Tuscaloosa Police Department investigators did not return several phone calls asking for comment last week.

Corbin pleaded guilty Sept. 15 to a murder charge in his 33-year-old wife's death, admitting he used the revolver to fire a single bullet into her head on Dec. 4, 2006. He also pleaded guilty in connection with the 1990 death of Dorothy "Dolly" Hearn, 27, a former girlfriend and fellow dental school student at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Corbin received a life sentence.

Prosecutors said there were striking similarities in the slayings of Jennifer Corbin and Hearn. After Corbin's romances with those two women began deteriorating, he was unable to accept the breakup. He began harassing them and eventually killed them, said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter. He then staged their deaths to look like suicides.

There were no similar circumstances surrounding Gray's death, authorities said.

Two inmates at the Richmond County Detention Center, where Corbin was housed briefly while awaiting trial, claimed they spoke with Corbin about the Gray case, according to the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office investigative files.

Inmate Richard Kicklighter reportedly said Corbin told him that Gray's murder happened the second day of his honeymoon with Jennifer and "they won't ever get me for that one."

Another inmate, Danny Owens, told detectives that he encountered Corbin in the medical ward of the jail. Owens said he asked Corbin several times whether he had killed his wife or ex-girlfriend. Corbin allegedly hedged the question and replied "I can't talk about my cases."

Yet when asked about Gray, Corbin told Owens "I didn't kill her. I didn't even know her. I didn't kill this one," according to the investigative file.