Michael Curry case: Julia Slater asks that hearsay evidence be excluded

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comApril 8, 2011 

The prosecution in the murder case against Michael Curry, accused of killing his pregnant wife and two children in 1985, has asked the court to exclude hearsay statements made by three people.

Curry is accused of hacking to death his 24-year-old pregnant wife Ann, 4-year-old daughter Erika and 20-month-old son Ryan with a bush ax at their Rockhurst Drive home on Aug. 29, 1985.

In the prosecution’s motion, District Attorney Julia Slater asks that the court not allow statements made by Jeffrey Blacker, Pamela Bachman or Nathaniel Askew into evidence.

Askew told police that a man named James Lewis came to his home on the day of the slayings and asked if he could borrow a gun so he could rob a man’s “old lady” of a large amount of cocaine. Askew told Lewis he had no gun, so Lewis left.

According to the state’s motion, Askew later failed a polygraph test after giving his statement.

The police later located Lewis, who “adamantly denied that any such conversation had ever taken place,” according to the filing. The state points out that he passed a polygraph test and that there was no gun used in the Curry killings nor was there any evidence of a large amount of cocaine being in the house.

Backman was a dancer at the old Pillow Talk Lounge on First Avenue. She told police that between 5 and 6 p.m. on August 27, 28 or 29 of that year, a white male stranger told her he had just killed three people. She claimed she called police the next day.

Police later confirmed that she had called Phenix City police on Aug. 29, asking if three people had been killed in Columbus.

“This would mean the ‘confession’ was made to Backman on the evening of August 28, 1985 – a full 24 hours before the bodies were discovered,” the state’s motion points out.

The third individual, Jeffrey Blacker was a “deranged mental patient,” according to the prosecution. He had escaped from West Central Georgia Mental Hospital the day before the slayings and told police in 1986 that he was the killer.

“For a variety of reasons too numerous to recount here, he was ruled out as a suspect,” the motion says. It also points out that Blacker “completely repudiated his statement” in 1988, saying he had hoped to gain a transfer from a Kansas institution where he was being held.

In its conclusion, the prosecution states:

“The information provided in the three statements is hearsay. They were made at varying times after the murders. The statements were not corroborated by any other evidence, but were actually inconsistent with the facts of the case.”

The prosecution’s filings come on the heels of a motion filed Thursday by Curry’s attorney, public defender Bob Wadkins Sr., saying that, because the case against his client is circumstantial, “the proven facts must … exclude every other reasonable theory other than the guilt of the accused.” Wadkins’ motion then suggests that a neighbor of the Currys could have been the killer.

Because Superior Court Judge John Allen has issued a gag order in the case, attorneys, investigators and others involved in it are not at liberty to comment on it publicly.

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