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Man Found Incompetent but Gets Prison

Courts: Twenty-year term is given for a slaying, despite earlier ruling that he was brain-damaged. He had been freed but was rearrested after a stellar college record.

December 04, 1999|From Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A man who earned A's and B's in college after a court ruled he was too brain-damaged to stand trial for killing his ex-girlfriend was sentenced Friday to the maximum of 20 years in prison.

Lawyers for Kenneth Curtis, 34, had asked for leniency, saying Curtis, partially paralyzed since shooting himself in the head in 1987, had inflicted enough damage on himself.

But Judge George Thim said the state had already shown Curtis leniency by reducing the charge from murder to manslaughter.

He told Curtis, "You must be held accountable for your actions."

About two dozen relatives of the victim, Donna Kalson, burst into loud applause when the sentence was imposed.

Police said Curtis shot himself after fatally shooting Kalson, 21, and wounding her companion outside a Stratford restaurant in 1987.

Curtis was charged in the killing in 1988, but courts determined that he was incompetent to stand trial and was freed the next year.

He was rearrested in 1997 after he earned A's and B's at Southern Connecticut State University.

In September, Curtis, whose arms and left leg are paralyzed, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

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