Sunday, Dec 2, 2012
Garza County News

Photo by David Johnson

Jury Finds Curtis Guilty on Two Counts

Published Jan. 26, 2012 @ 8:08 a.m.

In a two-day trial in Garza County Court last week, six jurors found Jerry Lynn Curtis guilty on two counts and assessed the maximum punishment for both.

Curtis was charged with burglary of a Post ISD school bus and attempted theft of bus batteries in September, 2011. At the time of these offenses, Curtis was on parole from a Texas prison after serving one year of a four-year sentence for Assault Causing Bodily Injury and Burglary of Habitation.  Curtis was staying at the home of a family member in Post although the conditions of his parole prohibited him from being in Garza County,

In addition to witness testimony, evidence presented in court included a Post ISD surveillance tape and a recorded confession by the defendant.

After finding Curtis guilty of burglary and attempted theft, the jury determined his punishment for the attempted theft to be the maximum of 180 days in the Garza County Jail and a fine of $2000.  Punishment for the burglary charge was enhanced because the defendant was previously convicted of the offense of burglary of a vehicle.  For this offense, the jury assessed confinement in the Garza County Jail for a term of one year and a fine of $4000.

In his closing remarks to the jury, Garza County Attorney Mike Munk said that the evidence proved Curtis guilty and the jury had an opportunity to "send a message to others." In an interview following the trial, Munk expressed the importance of making people accountable.  "When a parolee commits a misdemeanor, 'stacking' his sentence with prison time certainly sends a message," Munk said. 

Curtis' parole will most likely be revoked and after he serves his remaining time in prison, the one year and 180 days assessed by the jury in this trial will not be served concurrently.  In addition, according to Munk, if Curtis is unable to pay the $6000 fines, he will have to "work out" the fines at the rate of $50/day while remaining in the Garza County jail.  This would mean an additional 132 days incaceration.

The 2011 charges were the latest in a string of offenses by the 25-year-old.  He pled guilty to Assault Causing Bodily Injury and Burglary of Habitation in 2008 and was sent to prison in 2009.  Curtis was also found guilty of Assault Casing Bodily Injury in 2007 and was assessed court costs of $312 and 60 days in Garza County jail.  In 2005 Curtis was found guilty of Burglary of Vehicle and ordered to pay court costs of $245 and serve 60 days in Garza County jail.  He also has had two Misdemeanor convictions in Lubbock County.

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