Questions raised in Cornett case following livestream
Published 11:00 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Andre Cornett, a member of the U.S. Army, died June 17, 2018, in an alleged suicide from a gunshot wound to the head. A recent livestream on a popular social media outlet, however, has raised a number of questions regarding the open case, including speculations of a homicide cover-up.
Cornett’s family members began a live-stream on Facebook late Wednesday night to share Cornett’s story with the public and ask a number of questions as to why his case is still unresolved. Cornett’s family assured those viewing the video that they were not out to blame anyone, but they were seeking answers regarding Cornett’s case — an ongoing investigation by Kentucky State Police Post 10.
Cornett’s mother, Andrea Cornett, said many things in her son’s case “just don’t line up.”
“I know he didn’t shoot himself. I know my son,” Cornett said.
Cornett went on to speak of the night that ultimately changed her and her sister’s lives forever.
Cornett said she received a call from Andre’s girlfriend at the time, telling her Andre wanted her to know he had shot himself. After hearing such a frightening message, Cornett said she raced to locate her son, eventually finding him in the trauma center at Holston Valley Medical Center in Tennessee. But the thing that shocked her more than the phone call itself was when the doctor told her Andre was left unable to speak after being shot.
Already shaken up, wondering how Andre could tell his girlfriend to call her, Cornett said the thing that shocked her even more was the lack of police officers coming to investigate Andre’s shooting. Cornett added her son’s hands had been tightly bound in brown paper bags, so tightly his hands were swollen.
“There was a bag of the clothes he was shot in that night,” Cornett said. “His clothes weren’t taken into evidence, so I had to put gloves on to go through my child’s clothes to see the belongings he had, what I could try to find out and what was going on with him.”
Cornett said her son’s wallet, along with other items, including a golden necklace and approximately $800, is still missing to this day.
Three days later, on June 17, 2018, Cornett was faced with the decision to take her son off life support because his brains were starting to leak and he was suffering from kidney failure and pneumonia. Andre was 23 when he died.
“All the while, I’m sitting here watching my child fight for his life and not one officer has come to this hospital,” Cornett said. “I had to hold my child’s hand, as he struggled to breathe, and tell him it’s OK to let go.”
Cornett said she later found out Andre’s girlfriend hid the gun, which was allegedly used to shoot her son, resulting in a tampering with physical evidence charge to the juvenile. Cornett added Andre’s girlfriend told her she drove him to the hospital after he had been shot.
“This nurse told me the only thing she could think was this girl had supposedly sat in his lap and drove him to the E.R. yet she didn’t have a drop on her, while my son was covered in blood. The nurse said the whole time she was in the lobby she was on her phone texting and then she just disappeared.
“While we were in the hospital, Andre’s army sergeant came in, and he took one look at my son and went down on his knees,” Cornett said. “He told me Andre did not do this to himself — he was the toughest soldier he had.”
Andre Cornett was awarded the Purple Heart for his dedication and bravery just days before his death.
Army specialist Glenn Joseph spoke briefly of Cornett and the memories he shared with him while in the army.
“He was a really good guy — always uplifting, awesome smile,” Joseph said. “He’s actually the one that motivated me and helped me prepare, physically, for the army.”
Joseph said Cornett’s death was “untimely” and “unexpected.”
“We grew up together. I met him about my freshman or sophomore year of high school and we’ve been family ever since,” Joseph said. “We all just really want justice for him.”
According to the autopsy report, Cornett’s cause of death could not be determined due to lack of evidence and no police report available. A lethal dose of fentanyl was also found in his system.
KSP Post 10 declined making any comment due to the nature of the case and because it remains an open investigation, according to public relations officer Shane Jacobs.
After reaching out to Cornett’s past girlfriend, she and her family asked for her name to not be released, but said charges would be pressed on the Cornetts if they continue making videos.
Cornett’s past girlfriend said she had “never witnessed a soul like his,” as she reflected on the tragedy.
Due to the sensitivity of the case, certain details cannot be released, including a number of other things said to take place the night of Cornett’s death.
“We just want answers,” said Cornett’s aunt, Natasha Cornett. “The gun that supposedly killed him, a .32 caliber handgun, couldn’t even fire. He showed us multiple times that the firing pin was broken.”
Cornett’s family now hopes to advocate for individuals and families also seeking answers regarding their loved one’s deaths.
“They can contact us on Facebook or call or email,” the two said. “We just want to support anyone that may also be seeking answers.”