Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

An Arizona woman being held in the Mohave County jail on a murder charge for the shooting death of her boyfriend apparently committed suicide Sunday.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that 60-year-old Julia Peat was found dead in her cell at the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility in Kingman at about 2:34 p.m. Sunday. She was found unresponsive with an article of clothing tied around her neck.

“Life-saving measures were immediately initiated by staff, however Peat was unable to be revived,” Anita Mortensen, public information specialist for the sheriff’s office, said Monday morning. “She was housed alone and foul play is not suspected.”

Peat had been booked Thursday on one count of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 69-year-old Mark Corbett, of Lake Havasu City.

Peat was a decorated officer during her time with the LAPD. She was known for her caring demeanor and received a prestigious Crystal Angel Award at the True Blue Police Foundation gala in 2008 for her service in South Los Angeles.

Peat told homicide investigators that she became concerned for her safety after having a conversation with a woman with whom the couple was considering having a three-way relationship several months ago.

The woman, who isn’t named in the police report obtained by The Times, reportedly said Corbett confessed to her that he “had killed a cop and has not been arrested for that incident.” The other woman said Corbett threatened to kill her if she told anyone, the report alleged, but Peat said he had never been violent toward her.

Peat told a police detective she understood the officer’s killing happened in California. Investigators have not confirmed the details of Corbett’s past, but court records show he had a prior felony conviction in the state of Washington.

Moments after allegedly killing the 69-year-old Corbett on June 22, Peat called Lake Havasu City police to confess to the shooting. She referred to him as her ex-boyfriend and said he was a felon. When officers arrived, she emerged from the house with her hands in the air and a cellphone wedged between her ear and shoulder.

She left the Beretta on the kitchen counter.

Almost from the beginning, Lake Havasu investigators doubted Peat’s claim that the crime was a spontaneous act. Instead, the report says, their investigation uncovered clues that Peat had been planning the killing for at least a day.

Peat told investigators that, after learning of the cop-killing allegation, she told Corbett “she was not in love with him” and began moving his belongings out of the house. She also stopped drinking, moved her guns to a neighbor’s home and told several people that she suspected Corbett knew she’d found out about his past.

The day before the killing, Peat went to local police and asked an officer to run a background check on Corbett. But the officer was unable to provide any information.

So Peat got her guns back and loaded her 9mm with new hollow-point rounds, according to the report. The following day, she met up with Corbett at an RV dealership and lured him to her home shortly after lunch, saying she wanted to give their relationship another chance.

But in reality, she admitted to police, she was waiting for a moment when his “guard was down,” according to the incident report.

Once at her home, she kissed him and asked him to clean the backyard pool, giving her time to retrieve her loaded Beretta and position herself in the kitchen, waiting for him to return. As Corbett walked through the sliding door, she began firing, according to the police report.

She later told investigators that Corbett exclaimed, “Why?” as she shot him.

Officers found 11 shell casings scattered around Corbett, who was wearing a white shirt, blue plaid shorts and white tennis shoes and lying on his left side. Blood was pooled around his head and chest, the police report noted. Gunshot wounds were visible on his right cheek and forearm.

Lake Havasu police Sgt. Michael Terrinoni said Peat told investigators that she was a former LAPD officer and she shot Corbett because she feared for her life. He said she was arrested on suspicion of premeditated murder.

Peat was taken to the Mohave County Jail in Kingman where she was housed in a cell by herself.

She made an initial court appearance on Friday with bond set at $1 million.

“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of an alleged murder at the hands of retired Officer Julia Peat, who separated from the Department in 2017,” Chief Michel Moore said in a statement. “We send our condolences to the victim’s family and retired Officer Peat, who reportedly committed suicide while in custody.”

As part of standard MCSO protocol, sheriff’s office detectives are investigating the in-custody death, Mortensen said.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com