Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: The Highway’ depicts how three intruders attempted to rob and murder Tony Wake and Cornelia Corbre inside their Colorado Springs, Colorado, apartment in late December 1977. The carnage at the crime scene shocked the investigators, with one of the reporters even comparing it to a Quentin Tarantino movie scene. If you’re intrigued and want to find out more about the case, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
Tony Wake and Cornelia Corbre’s Attempted Murder
Fort Carson soldier Ted Clinkscale was relaxing at his friend Randy Baker’s flat at a modest apartment complex in the center of Colorado Springs, Colorado, on December 27, 1977. Around 9:15 pm, Randy went out to take the trash when Ted heard commotion followed by a volley of gunshots from an apartment downstairs. He rushed to his friend Tony Wake’s residence below and knocked on the door when somebody extended their arm and pointed a gun at him. Ted ran away for help and called 911. When the authorities reached the crime scene, they learned Tony, then 24, and his seven months pregnant wife, Cornelia “Cece” Corbre, then 19, had been rushed to the Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
According to police sources, another black male — 28-year-old Jerry Lee Bowers — was shot dead inside the apartment. His body blocked the small flat’s doorway as the officers entered the flat. The carnage inside shocked them, with bullet holes and blood spattered all over the walls, ceiling, and floor. Jerry had been shot with multiple weapons, with a gunshot wound from a small caliber weapon to the upper thigh in the right leg and a massive shotgun wound to the right side of his chest. He had a .38-caliber handgun loosely in his right hand.
The investigators found a .38-caliber revolver next to a pool of blood while a shotgun lay next to another blood pool on the carpet. They also discovered two shotgun shells on the floor, food and soda lying on the table, a knitting needle, and crochet work on the armchair. The different weapons found at the crime scene accounted for the injuries sustained by Jerry. The detectives also learned Cece was a homemaker while her husband, Tony, worked for Ampex, an audio-visual company in town. They liaised with their counterparts in the hospital to learn that Tony was shot in the neck and Cece was shot once in the arm and once in the stomach.
However, the officers informed both victims were attacked with a 22-caliber weapon, which indicated the presence of others during the carnage. While the investigators were waiting outside the hospital, Jerry’s sister, Beulah Williams, came with a friend, Byron Myers. They seemed shocked to learn about Jerry’s death, and the officers took their contact for later interviews. Meanwhile, the detectives at the crime scene got a breakthrough when Randy came forward as a witness. He stated he was taking out the trash when three individuals ambushed him and used him as a decoy to enter Tony’s apartment. He also informed the officers the intruders were demanding Tony’s weed stash and cash.
Where Are Byron Myers and Pete Cordero Now?
According to the episode, Randy lay on the floor while the guns went off, his eyes closed, fists clenched. Though he did not see how the events transpired, he informed the police that Tony dealt weed on the side for some extra money with a child coming. Randy stated he was no serious dealer and was unrelated to gang-related activities. The following day, the investigators interviewed Beulah, who told them her brother had no steady job for the last few months and was possibly embroiled in illegal activities like robbing. She claimed he was plotting to invade someone’s home with Byron and another Mexican named Pete when she entered the room, and the trio paused till she left.
Byron had initially claimed he knew nothing but confessed to driving Jerry and Peter “Pete” J Cordero to Tony’s apartment on December 27. He informed the officers he had met Pete through Jerry, and the trio were looking to score easy money. According to Byron, Jerry had bought weed from Tony before and knew he had a pregnant wife. The intruders banked on this, hoping the couple would not fight back. However, he claimed things went sideways when Pete fired his gun during the attempted robbery, and he fled the scene.
After his confession, the police arrested Byron for attempted robbery. Meanwhile, Tony and Cece survived their injuries, and the husband volunteered to talk to the authorities. He admitted to dealing weed and stated the trio barged into their home, demanding his stash and money. Cece told the trio the weed and cash were under the kitchen sink. However, Pete — allegedly high and irritated — failed to find the loot and shot Tony in the neck. Fearing for her life, Cece retrieved her .38-caliber revolver and fired at Pete and Jerry. While she managed to hit Jerry in the leg, Pete pointed his gun at her. At that point, an injury Tony stumbled into the room with his shotgun and fired at the armed intruders.
While he fatally shot Jerry, Pete managed to flee the scene. Tony claimed he lost his senses and woke up at the hospital. Confident he was speaking the truth, the police fanned out and arrested Pete from a girlfriend’s house. According to the episode, Byron pled guilty to participating in the robbery and was sentenced to 11 months. Meanwhile, Pete was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years for first-degree burglary and first-degree assault. Tony and Cece went on to have their baby, and a court found they shot in self-defense. Because they cooperated in the case, the prosecution dropped the narcotics charges against them. Byron and Pete have been released from prison.