Verdict expected Thursday after morning closing arguments
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Closing arguments in the Donte Curry murder trial begin Thursday morning in Allen Superior Court.
Jurors will have to decide whether or not the 42-year-old Curry is guilty of the November 2015 shooting death of Harold Von Harrington, 26, after he was allegedly hired to kill him over $20,000 stolen money.
Testifying against Curry yesterday was FBI informant Patrick Davis, who told the jury he drove Curry to the “hit” in the 3200 block of Central Avenue, but thought it was a marijuana deal. Then he helped the FBI purchase the murder weapon a few days later.
Wednesday, FBI agent Kelly Jay Stewart filled in details on Davis’ deal with his agency and a former Allen County inmate, Cedric Edwards, reported what he overheard when he was at the Allen County Jail with Curry and Davis.
Meanwhile, Curry attended his own trial, free to walk out of the courtroom once the day’s proceedings came to an end. Although he is charged with murder, which in Indiana has no bond, the state was forced to release him after a trial continuance was denied. Curry was serving another prison sentence, his attorney Robert Scremin said, and once that obligation was completed, he was released.
Curry wore a light blue dress shirt and a cross around his neck. As he exited the elevator Wednesday after the morning session, he was asked how the trial was going.
“It’s going good,” Curry said.
What came from the testimony, especially from recorded phone calls played in the courtroom, was the misery, insecurity and paranoia of the streets as Davis called people related to the victim to set up the gun buy, although the audio was difficult to understand.
Scremin attempted to discredit the recording of the Dec. 2 gun buy between Davis and Curry at a home on South Park Drive, but there were four voices on the tape. Indiana State Police officer Rob Smith had parked his pickup in an alley behind the home and said he was able to identify Curry from a copied photo provided him. But did he really know it was Curry? Scremin wanted to know.
The murder case had gone cold until Fort Wayne homicide detective Brian Martin re-opened it. Davis had contacted the FBI before Harrington was killed, saying he had information on other homicides and criminal activities. But in March 2016 Davis was charged with a federal sex crime and the FBI stopped communicating with him.
Fast forward to 2019 when Martin took another look at police reports and evidence. He asked Davis’ federal public defender, Michelle Kraus, if he could speak with Patrick (Davis) serving time in a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona and contacted Edwards who wasn’t about to become a snitch without a deal.
“If I don’t get nothing out of it, I ain’t got nothing to say,” Edwards said in his deposition. Scremin noted he was facing a two-year prison sentence for escape from lawful detention and, in his deposition, called himself a “heroin addict and dope fiend.”
Court documents indicate Edwards’ two-year sentence was amended to two years of probation in December.
Nevertheless, informing doesn’t come without problems. Edwards told Deputy Prosecutor James Posey that because of his testimony he had received two threats.
Threats and retaliation are the price of being in the streets. Looking over your shoulder is what Davis, who got a year off his seven year sentence, and Edwards face, they said.
But Harrington doesn’t have that choice. Around 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21, 2015, as the snow was falling, he was shot six times as he sat in his 2002 Ford Taurus listening to music on his earbuds. His mother, Lynette Scroggins, heard the seven shots that were fired and ran out to his car in front of their Central Avenue home as police arrived and kept her away from the crime scene.
Scroggins, who shares the last name of two people evoked in testimony as possibly involved in her son’s murder, not only testified in court Tuesday, but has been supported by her family and friends as they attend the trial together.
Tuesday, she stood at the rail, she asked to see her son’s autopsy photos. She’d never seen them before, but now in a heartbreaking moment, she traced the bullet holes with her finger.
That she and her family share the courtroom with Curry and his girlfriend is a bizarre twist, particularly when the accused walks out of the courtroom and through the Harrington supporters. There are no scenes, no loud heckles and no need for court security to get involved.
But tomorrow after closings and Superior Court Judge David Zent sends the jury out with instructions, the family will wait anxiously for a verdict.
Scroggins says she’ll have plenty to say when that moment comes.