By Sally Deering
A terrorist flirted with her; a murderer stuck his tongue out at her; and a victim whose face was slashed shared with her the heart-stopping details of her attack – it’s all in a day’s work for courtroom artist Christine Cornell who has spent decades in the courtroom with her canvas and pastels drawing some of the biggest criminal trials in our country’s history.
Cornell, a Weehawken resident, has been drawing trials since the 1970s and images from her portfolio are sought after by documentary filmmakers like Ken Burns who features 30 Cornell drawings in his new film “The Central Park Five” which recently aired on PBS about the five young men convicted and later found not guilty of the rape attack of the “Central Park Jogger”. Just last week CNN contacted Cornell for a documentary on the 1980 murder of Beatles’ singer/songwriter John Lennon. They wanted to purchase the drawing Cornell did of gunman Mark David Chapman at his arraignment clutching the book “Catcher in the Rye”.