A former Marine corporal held in Anchorage and accused of murdering a comrade’s pregnant wife in California has waived his rights against extradition to face charges there.
Christopher Brandon Lee said in Anchorage Jail Court Thursday morning that he would no longer fight extradition to California in the death of 19-year-old Erin Corwin. Lee is charged with both murder and lying in wait, a California charge which indicates deliberate planning of a murder.
Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega, the Alaska prosecutor handling the case, says Lee announced the decision after consulting with his attorney in California. The state of California will pay Lee's transportation costs.
"A lot of defendants will waive extradition because sitting here in a jail in Alaska does nothing for their speedy trial rights," Nobrega said. "Their speedy trial rights don't start till they get to the state where they're facing the criminal charges, so a lot of defendants find it's quicker and easier to waive extradition to get back to the state so they deal with the pending charges."
Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion says Thursday's news means that Lee's transfer to California authorities will happen quickly.
"I would say (in) the next couple of days," Campion said. "The judge set a hearing for Sept. 8 to make sure he's actually gone."
The decision marks a victory for law enforcement officials in California, who say Lee was Corwin’s lover and that he had researched means to dispose of a human body and stockpiled tires which might be used to burn remains. Corwin disappeared June 28, with Lee arrested by Anchorage police on a homicide warrant in the case last week.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos had said earlier in the week that if Lee had not waived extradition, other legal mechanisms -- but slower ones -- existed to bring Lee to justice in California.
Editor's note: An initial version of this story misspelled prosecutor Heather Nobrega's last name.
Channel 2’s Garrett Turner contributed information to this story.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.