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 â€“ itâ€™s all in a dayâ€™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 countryâ€™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 â€œThe Central Park Fiveâ€ which recently aired on PBS about the five young men convicted and later found not guilty of the rape attack of the â€œCentral Park Joggerâ€. Just last week CNN contacted Cornell for a documentary on the 1980 murder of Beatlesâ€™ singer/songwriter John Lennon. They wanted to purchase the drawing Cornell did of gunman Mark David Chapman at his arraignment clutching the book â€œCatcher in the Ryeâ€.