MARTINEZ -- An Antioch man who complained he was being railroaded after a trial he described as a "scam" was sentenced by a Contra Costa judge on Friday to consecutive sentences of 15 years to life and 25 years to life in the shooting death of his roommate.
Richard Allen Curry, 62, who has suffered three heart attacks, has a pacemaker and entered the courtroom using a walker, was convicted in March of second-degree murder with a gun enhancement in the 2012 death of Robert Shelley, 60. The two had shared a housing unit in a building reserved for people with mental health issues. Curry suffers from depression.
On the night of Dec. 2, 2012, Curry -- who had no prior history of violent behavior -- fired one shot at Shelley, hitting him in the shoulder and jaw. Shelley died a few weeks later from his injuries. At trial, Curry claimed he acted in self-defense when Shelley, who typically slept on a sofa in the living room, unexpectedly entered the bedroom and lay down on one of the two twin beds.
Curry told police he said, "Bad move," to Shelley before shooting him.
"His mind was in a place I couldn't comprehend, and that scared me," said Curry, who feared Shelley's erratic behavior would cause him to have another heart attack. "I only acted out of concern for my health. It's not fair what's being done to me. I'm being railroaded, and that's the truth."
Judge Lewis A. Davis, who conversed at length with prosecutor Jason Peck and defense attorney Brandon Banks about potential mitigating factors in the case, told Curry, "Saying 'bad move' wipes out all the mitigating factors. I think you were ready to do him in, and you did."
Curry also requested the judge allow him to see the evidence from the trial.
"I have a right to examine the evidence being used against me," he said. "I feel my constitutional rights have been violated. I believe much of the evidence has been fabricated. If my belief is correct, this whole trial has been a scam."
Davis reminded Curry that his attorney had the right to object to any evidence entered at trial and that all evidence entered was agreed to by both attorneys or ruled admissible by the court.
"This is not the time it's going to be addressed," he said.
In the end, the defendant was reduced to tears, describing himself as "a decent human being" and telling the court: "I had to point a gun and shoot someone. It's a horrible experience."
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.