March 18, 2010

Judge rules man insane in killing of boy, 13


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Staff photo by David Leaming THE ACCUSED: Todd Curry is led into Somerset Superior Court in Skowhegan on Wednesday for a hearing where it was determined that he is not criminally responsible in the death of his girlfriend's son Anthony Tucker in 2006.

Blethen Maine News Service

SKOWHEGAN — After an emotional hearing Wednesday, a judge found Todd Curry of Palmyra not criminally responsible for the shooting death of his girlfriend's 13-year-old son.

Superior Court Justice Joseph Jabar's finding means that Curry, 40, will be committed to a mental health institution for treatment. He had been charged with murder.

The finding came after a psychologist and a psychiatrist testified that Curry suffers from bipolar disorder and was in the grip of profound psychosis on the morning when he picked up an assault-type rifle and killed Anthony Tucker.

Anthony, who was described as mature beyond his years and protective of his siblings, was the last to flee from his family's home on Warren Hill Road on Nov. 28, 2006.

That morning, Curry, who had not slept the night before, became increasingly violent, threatening himself, his girlfriend, April Cooley, and their infant daughter, Alyssa, before killing Anthony.

In a rambling statement, Curry said that he thought someone was contacting him with a message to kill one person in the house to save the world.

''I thought of the whole world and I said to myself, 'I can beat this, I am just going to kill myself,' and then I put something up to my throat. April said 'no' and then all hell broke loose,'' said Curry.

Several times during his short speech, Curry broke down. At one point, his attorney, Janet Mills, asked him if his recollection of the day differed from the accounts of the psychiatric experts.

Curry said ''no,'' and then apologized to the parents and sister of Anthony Tucker.

''I want to say I am very sorry to April and Randy (Tucker) and Adrienne (Tucker). I wish this whole thing never happened. He was the greatest kid in the world,'' Curry said.

Curry, who wore handcuffs and leg shackles as he entered the courtroom, spent most of the hearing slumped in his chair next to his attorney, his eyes often closed, his head at times almost touching the table in front of him.

The plea agreement reached between Mills and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson had two parts: that Curry intentionally caused Anthony Tucker's death, but that he was legally insane when he pulled the trigger.

Under Maine law, a person is not criminally responsible if he or she is unable, by reason of mental disease or defect, to appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her actions.

Curry, who suffered a serious brain injury in a 1986 automobile accident, has bipolar disorder with psychotic features, according to Dr. Andrew Wisch, a psychologist who examined Curry.

Wisch said his investigation indicated that in the week before the shooting, Curry became increasingly psychotic. He apparently believed that members of a motorcycle gang were after him, and he spent all of one night behind the door of a hotel room in Old Orchard Beach, holding a knife.

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