Jury deliberations begin in the bush ax murder trial

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The jury trying to decide the fate of Michael Curry, the man accused of killing his pregnant wife Ann and two young children, has reached a stalemate.  After closing arguments ended on April 26th, the jury entered deliberations for almost four hours.  Unable to reach a decision Superior Court Chief Judge John Allen allowed the jury to go for the night, but they will return in the morning to try to decide the fate of Curry.

In closing arguments, the State and the Defense put everything on the table.  Defense Attorney Julia Slater began the closings by walking the jury through the definitions of the charges and clarifying that the State has the burden of proof, to prove the Curry was the individual who murdered his pregnant wife, Ann, and two young children beyond reasonable doubt.

The Defense began by questioning the State's circumstantial evidence and presented Curry as a law abiding citizen.  Public defender Robert Wadkins said the prosecution lacked one vital piece of evidence.

"Nobody, not in the stand, no document, no anything tells us that Ann Curry was at her house by the time Mike Curry purchased the fan at K-mart at 12:55," said Wadkins.

The timeline of August 29, 1985 has been a point of controversy throughout the trial.  The defense reminded the jury of the inconsistencies of the times for that day.  Wadkins said Bernice Johnson, Ann's mother, struggled to recollect the time her daughter and grandchildren left her home that day in August.  Wadkins stated the night of the murders, Johnson told police that her daughter left at 12:30 in the afternoon, but  Wadkins said as time continued, Johnson's testimony for the time period fluctuated to times between 12:30pm and 12:45pm.  Wadkins said knowing the time is key to showing Curry did not have time to kill his family.

"If he would have done these things, he would have had to have done them, cleaned up and gotten to K-mart in 8 minutes. K-mart it took 13 minutes to get there just by itself," said Wadkins.

But, the State countered back depicting a "shotgun marriage," with little compassion and the stresses of supporting a growing family.

"Dropped out of high school, unplanned 1st pregnancy, a joyless wedding, a miserable marriage. He never loved Ann. Never planned to spend the rest of his life with her. Third child on the way at the time. His world was collapsing," said Slater.

The State said the timeline is not the necessarily the defining moment of this case, but rather, Curry's actions when he found bodies of his wife and children mutilated by a bush ax speak of his guilt.  Slater highlighted the evidence that Curry's clothing from day of the murders did not have any blood on them.  Slater reminded the jury of previous testimony that told of the amount of blood around the bodies and how unlikely it would have been to kneel down at one of them without getting blood on one's clothes.

"Who, if they were not guilty of murder, wouldn't go near their family. Who would care if they got covered in blood from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet," said Slater.

Both sides also rehashed the possibility of other suspects mainly Fred Burt whose wife had an affair with Curry just weeks before the murder and the staged crime scene of the Rockhurst Drive home.

Deliberations will continue tomorrow morning at 9:00.

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