Michael Lee Curry, accused in the ax slayings of his family, could be released from the Muscogee County jail on bond, if his attorney gets a Superior Court judge to set one.
Robert Wadkins, the public defender now representing the 51-year-old former Columbus resident accused of killing his pregnant wife and two children with a bush ax on Aug. 29, 1985, said Tuesday that he plans to seek a bond hearing for Curry. He may ask for that during Curry’s arraignment, a formal reading of the charges against him. That proceeding has not been scheduled.
District Attorney Julia Slater, who plans to prosecute Curry herself, said she “absolutely” will oppose granting Curry bond. “Because the safety of the community is one of our highest obligations, we oppose bond on almost all murder cases, and this would be no exception,” she said.
Wadkins said he also plans to soon start the process of discovery, in which the defense starts digging through the prosecution’s evidence. “It’s going to be very labor-intensive in the sense of putting all the evidence together that they say they have,” he said.
But he hopes to proceed quickly. “I would like to take this thing to trial within six months,” he said.
Said Slater: “If that’s fine with the defense, that’s fine with us. We’ll be ready.”
In the deaths of his eight-months pregnant wife Ann, 24, daughter Erika, 4, son Ryan, 1, Curry faces charges of murder, aggravated assault and feticide. He is accused of using a bush ax, a tool with a curved blade used for clearing brush, to hack his wife and children to death in their Rockhurst Drive home.
Curry reported finding the bodies when he returned home from work about 5:30 p.m. that day. Ann Curry and her children had visited her parents that afternoon, leaving her parents’ Fairview Drive home about 12:30 or 12:45 p.m.
Curry told police that on the day of the slayings, he had shopped for a fan for the Bradley Center, where he was a maintenance supervisor, and bought one at Columbus’ Macon Road Kmart at 1:10 p.m.
Police questioned Curry for hours on the night of the slayings, then released him without charge. Wadkins said he’s curious to see what new evidence investigators have.
Curry was arrested last week in Dalton, Ga., where he worked as an electronics technician for the city school system’s maintenance office. Wadkins, who talked to Curry last week, said Curry maintains he is innocent.
The attorney said a heinous crime generates a lot of publicity that can distract people from the evidence — or lack of it — and he plans to keep the trial focused on the evidence.
“This is an old case with a lot of publicity, and a lot of opinions as to guilt or not guilt. It was a very heinous set of crimes, and I’m going to insist that at trial, we go by the rule of law, and not have a bunch of innuendoes and suggestions by those witnesses the prosecutor will call,” he said.
The defense can’t argue that the killings weren’t gruesome, he said: “But we don’t want to try this case on emotions. There’s going to be one question at trial, and that is whether Mike Curry is guilty.”