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Friday, August 26, 2011

Ind. Decisions - "Appeals court overturns conviction of Muncie wife-killer Thomas: Eugene Curtis is now not guilty by reason of insanity"

The Wednesday, August 24th NFP decision of the Court of Appeals in the case of Thomas E. Curtis v. State of Indiana (NFP) is the subject of a story today in the Muncie Star-Press, reported by Douglas Walker. Some quotes:

MUNCIE -- The murder conviction of a Muncie man who plunged an ornamental dagger into his sleeping wife's chest has been overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In a Wednesday ruling, the three-judge panel ordered Delaware Circuit Court 4 Judge John Feick to find Thomas Eugene Curtis, now 47, not guilty by reason of insanity, and to begin "corresponding commitment proceedings."

Feick presided over a bench trial last fall and then found Curtis guilty, but mentally ill, of murder in the December 2009 slaying of 27-year-old Crystal Curtis. Last Jan. 29, the judge sentenced Thomas Curtis, a Navy veteran said to suffer from bipolar and "intermittent explosive" disorders, to 55 years in prison. * * *

The appeals court -- judges L. Mark Bailey, Paul Mathias and Terry Crone -- noted comments during Curtis' trial between Feick and psychiatrist Rebecca Mueller.

Feick asked Mueller if Curtis was placed in a state hospital, presumably after being found not guilty by reason of insanity, "they will kick him out as soon as they can, right?"

"In this day and age, probably so," the psychiatrist responded, adding it was possible Curtis could be placed in a group home with a court order to take his anti-psychotic medications.

In this week's ruling, Judge Bailey wrote that "although we are sympathetic to the trial court's concern for the community," rejecting an insanity defense because the defendant could continue to be a danger to society was not grounds to support a guilty-but-mentally-ill verdict.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 26, 2011 10:06 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions