Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Investigation into the Murder of Dr. David Cornbleet

A Confession

In August 2007, nearly one year after the murder of Dr. David Cornbleet, police announced they had finally solved the case. Unfortunately, closure would not come quickly.

Using information from a tip received through MySpace.com, authorities began to focus the investigation on 29-year-old Hans Peterson, a former patient of David's. Armed with a search warrant, investigators gathered DNA evidence from a former apartment of Peterson's in New York City. Investigators then used that evidence to link him to the murder scene. Chicago police issued a warrant for Peterson in June 2007. Not long thereafter, they learned Peterson had fled to St. Martin, an island in the northeast Caribbeanthe northern half belonging to France, the southern half to the Netherlands.

Once on the island, Peterson applied for French citizenship based on his mother's French origin. Despite the fact that Peterson had been born and raised in the United States, his application was approved in May 2007, making him an official citizen of France.

When Peterson learned that a federal warrant had been issued for him, he turned himself in to French authorities and confessed to the murder. According to police, Peterson said he committed the murder because Dr. Cornbleet had prescribed him acne medicine in April 2002 that had rendered him impotent.

Despite having a suspect and a full confession, extradition would prove to be another matter all together. French law forbids capital punishment, and prohibits extradition of French citizens, or of non-French criminals to countries where a conviction could result in the death penalty.

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