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Judge jails DNA donor Neal Putnam | Fri, Apr 09 2010 03:01 PM

A Bonita man who submitted his own DNA to thwart the results of a paternity test for a friend was sentenced March 26 to one year in jail for obstructing justice in a murder investigation.

Maxwell Harrison Corn, 26, recently returned from a 90-day diagnostic study in a state prison and was placed on three years probation by San Diego Superior Court Judge Bernard Revak. Corn was given credits of 208 
days and his projected release is June 12, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Corn was the best friend of Dennis Potts, 25, also of Bonita, who is now serving two life terms in prison without the possibility of parole for the slaying of Tori Vienneau, 22, and her 10-month-old son, Dean.

Potts was convicted of strangling both victims on July 26, 2006, in her apartment on South 45th Street in San Diego by a jury on Sept. 10, 2009.

Corn was not implicated in the murders, but he did supply his own DNA in a test meant for his friend, Potts, who was trying to get out of paying child support for his son. After the murders, Pott's DNA was tested, and he was the father of the 10-month-old son.

Revak found Corn guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a non-jury trial on Oct. 30, 2009. Corn also gave an alibi for Potts, claiming that Potts was with him during the time Vienneau and her son were killed. 

The diagnostic study is often used for youthful defendants to give them a taste of prison life before they are eventually placed on probation. Prison officials sent a report to Revak on whether Corn could be placed on probation or if he should be sent to prison.

Revak suspended a three-year prison term so if he violates terms of  probation, he will be sent to prison. The prosecutor had sought a prison sentence. Corn was fined $1,214.

The paternity test was mailed to a DNA testing firm after Potts denied being the father. The night Vienneau was killed, Potts was expected to have dinner with her and she had talked about getting another DNA test. In a recovered cell phone call, Potts asked her if she would be alone that night and she said yes.

A power cord was wrapped around her neck as she lay on a couch in the  living room, and her pants had been pulled down to make it appear she had been sexually assaulted. The baby was strangled with a cell phone charger cord around his neck in another room.

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