2 life sentences handed down in 12th District Court

May 15—In a case that has been circling the justice system of the 12th District Court since 2015, Richard Alan Curlee, 34, was found guilty and sentenced to two life sentences for the Continuous Sexual Abuse of Child under 14 in 12th District Court.

The sentencing phase of the jury trial, that began Tuesday, May 7, as the jury was empaneled. The proceedings were abruptly stopped Friday, May 10, when Curlee shot himself in a bathroom stall at the Walker County Courthouse.

"Most importantly, I am thankful that no court personnel, prosecutors or jurors were injured after the guilty verdicts were returned on Friday," said Will Durham, Walker County District Attorney. "I am proud of the two young victims who testified so bravely, of our trial prosecutors who worked hard to present this case, and of the jury for their dedicated service on a case involving horrific crimes against children. Justice was ultimately served with two life sentences so that this defendant will never have the opportunity to terrorize and abuse children in Walker County ever again."

The first degree felony charges were filed against Curlee on Sept. 1, 2017, under Texas Statute 21.02(b). The first arraignment for the case was called in July 2019.

Curlee was originally appointed an attorney in April 2019, with an indictment handed down in June of 2019. Bryan Cantrell, a partner with Barcus & Cantrell, was retained by Curlee as representation.

So in the five years since the original filing, the case docket call and hearing have been cancelled and postponed with motions for continuances.

Cantrell took time to discuss the case Wednesday afternoon.

"I am very grateful for the quick response of Walker County Sheriff's Office," Cantrell said. "Their quick response gave my client the opportunity to survive the incident."

Cantrell said that the jury deliberated for 8 hours after both sides rested. The victims testified in the case.

Curlee was first arrested by Huntsville police and booked into the Walker County jail on March 14, 2019, at 12:27 a.m. He was 28 at the time and was released on $100,000 bond.

"We received information about an ongoing sexual abuse yesterday, and it was turned over to our detectives ," HPD Assistant Chief Jim Barnes said at the time of the arrest. "Detective Mark Jenkins and Detective Shani Millner, along with an officer from victims advocates did a great job working the case and obtaining a warrant."

The indictments against Curlee were handed down by a grand jury in June 2019. According to the District Attorney's office,

Curlee was initially arrested March 14 on first-degree felony charges stemming from alleged crimes in September 2017.

Authorities added another charge on April 16 involving another alleged sexual assault from January 2014.

Curlee's alleged abuse was brought to life when the family of a victim filed a report with the Huntsville Police Department.

Due to the nature of the crime, authorities would not release details on the alleged abuses.

Curlee is officially in the custody of the Walker County Sheriff's Office and remains in the hospital as of press time Wednesday afternoon.

The shooting incident is still under investigation by the Texas Rangers.

No further details are available at this time regarding the suicide attempt.

Contact Brenda Poe at editor@itemonline.com