Silt woman says ex-husband might have killed her mother |

Silt woman says ex-husband might have killed her mother

John Colson
Carbondale Correspondent

A Silt woman said she believes her ex-husband, serving time in a California prison for manslaughter, might have killed her mother more than 20 years ago.

She also said she fears that he may return to the valley when he is released from prison sometime this summer or fall, and that his return could spell trouble for her and others.

Kathi Spiars, who used to live in Carbondale and has been in the area for more than 25 years, recently asked to exhume her mother’s body from its resting place at the Hillcrest Cemetery outside of Carbondale. Cornelia Spiars died in 1990.

Spiars, 56, hopes to determine if foul play contributed to her mother’s sudden death. She thinks her former husband, Eric Wright, might have killed her mother for financial gain and worries that he may have plans to come back and harm her when he gets out of prison. She also accused Wright of embezzling money from her.

Although the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office had forwarded Spiars’ request for exhumation on to Carbondale and to the state department of public health, the request was withdrawn, according to Carbondale town clerk Marcia Walter. The DA’s office has refused to comment on the case.

Wright, who married Spiars under the assumed name of Steve Marcum, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2003, over the 1980 slaying death of California resident Lester Marks, according to news reports.

Wright reportedly had faked his own death, changed his name and moved to Colorado where he met and married Spiars in 1981 in Englewood, and then moved to Glenwood Springs.

Spiars became suspicious of Wright after learning he was not using his real name, started looking into his past, and ultimately linked him to the long-cold murder case, she told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent in a July 2002 article. Wright reportedly fled after learning Spiars had contacted California authorities with her information.

Authorities found Wright in Mexico and extradited him to California on charges of first-degree murder. But the loss of key pieces of evidence, and the death of one of the main initial investigators into the murder, resulted in a plea bargain and a six-year prison sentence for manslaughter. Spiars said she believes Wright will be paroled this year.

Spiars declined to say exactly how she believed Wright had killed her mother, pending the autopsy.

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