FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The dramatic arrival of an FBI informant in the trial of Donte Curry came with confusing testimony.
Patrick Davis, a federal inmate serving time in Tucson, Arizona, said he drove Curry to Central Avenue in Fort Wayne on Nov. 21, 2015 because Curry asked him for a ride.
Curry, 42, didn’t want to take his own car, Davis said, because the police were looking for him.
Davis, who entered the courtroom with a heavy metal chain wrapped around his waist, tied to his hands and legs down to his orange plastic Crocs, thought Curry was going to buy a pound of weed. He’d even thrown $400 into the $1,600 deal with the promise of half the dope.
But as he waited at the corner of Central and Baxter Street, out of his rear view window, he witnessed Curry fire on 26-year-old Harold Von Harrington, shooting at him seven times. Later, he said Curry told him Harrington “had ran off with $20,000.”
Six bullets claimed the life of Harrington as he sat in his 2002 Ford Taurus outside his home, his motor running and lights on around 6:30 p.m. A neighbor told Fort Wayne Police he saw a man run off toward an alley, but what the neighbor didn’t see was Davis speeding off as the bullets were fired.
“I flooded it toward Oxford (Street),” Davis told the jury. “We were supposed to be buying some weed and he started shooting.”
Curry told Davis, after they got friendly again, that he was paid $3,500 for the killing.
Davis’ testimony came towards the end of the first day of the trial held in front of Superior Court Judge David Zent.
Although that testimony from detectives and the Allen County Coroner’s office was straightforward and predictable – setting the scene of the crime and the autopsy reports – what Davis had to say was rather riveting and complicated.
He’d already started working with the FBI before the homicide occurred, he said, and tossed out the names of two unsolved homicides, those of Tyron Woods and Nicholaus Scroggins, without linking the Harrington homicide to them.
At first he didn’t tell the FBI about the homicide he witnessed, he said. Instead he worked with his handler, Agent Kelly Jay Stewart, or “Agent Jay” as Davis called him, to buy a Star 9mm Super B from Curry used to kill Harrington, he said. The FBI paid him for his work, money he used to move to Lima, Ohio because he feared for his life, he added.
In 2017 or 2018, after Davis was sentenced on a federal sex charge and sent to prison in Tucson, he said his public defender, Michelle Kraus, told him not to discuss the Harrington shooting.
He agreed to testify on the case after a local jail inmate revealed to a detective what Davis had told him when they were both incarcerated there.
The inmate said he and Donte Curry were members of the “C” gang and Curry told him of Davis’ unwitting involvement. Curry said he later sold the gun used to kill Harrington to Davis who didn’t know the gun’s history.
Davis then wrote a corroborating letter to Fort Wayne homicide detective Brian Martin, basically telling the same story.
In exchange for that testimony, Davis received a year’s reduction off his seven-year sentence, Davis told the jury.
While Allen County deputy prosecutor James Posey pointed out that the one-year sentence reduction wasn’t enough to take away the fear Davis had for spilling the beans on the case, defense attorney Robert Scremin pushed Davis to admit a dependency on weed for certain mental conditions and asked why he wouldn’t confess to what he knew earlier.
Scremin said his story changed. That was when Davis claimed that murder wasn’t a federal crime unless there was a conspiracy involved.
Wednesday, “Agent Jay” is scheduled to take the stand as well as the as-yet unnamed Allen County inmate and Martin.