|Birth: ||Dec. 23, 1959|
|Death: ||Jul. 20, 1974|
LOWELL WOMAN HELD IN SLAYING OF FIVE
By Guy Barnes, News Staff Writer
Five area residents were murdered and a sixth was seriously wounded in a series of shootings in Springdale and neighboring communities Friday night. A suspect is in custody.
Police identified the dead as Jimmy Lee Curry, 43, and Sabrina Marie Curry, 17, both of 406 Michael St.; Springdale; Jo Ann Brophy, 31, 710 Young St., Springdale; Richard Allen Curry, 14, and Jesse Lee Curry, 10, both of Rt. 1, Lowell. The wounded man is James Robert Dotson, 46, Farmington.
Shirley Marie Curry, 37, Rt. 1, Lowell, has been arrested in connection with all six shootings. She is the ex-wife of Jimmy Curry and the mother of the three slain Curry children. Jo Ann Brophy was her former sister-in-law and James Dotson is her ex-brother-in-law.
Jimmy and Shirley Curry were divorced in 1967. The divorce settlement provided for the children to live with the mother until age 14, when they would be given an opportunity to select the parent with which they wanted to live. In a hearing in Washington County Chancery Court Friday, Richard chose to live with his father, the same choice that Sabrina made about three years previously. Information in police reports indicated this may have been the motive for the killings.
Fayetteville police officers discovered a handwritten note in Shirley Curry's pickup truck addressed to "Toots," apparently her sister, in which she gave directions for the disposition of her property.
The first shootings were reported to Springdale police at 12:57 a.m. when a phone call was received at headquarters that a shooting had occurred at 406 Michael. Two minutes later, as officer arrived at the scene, a pick-up truck was seen speeding away from the area. Another patrol unit attempted, but was unable to catch the fleeing vehicle.
The first officer found the body of Jimmy Curry just inside the door of his home. He had been shot in the center of the chest, behind the left ear and possibly in the right arm. The body of Sabrina Curry was in her bed. She had been shot under an eye and behind the ear. David and John Shorter, stepsons of Curry were asleep and were not disturbed.
Saundra Curry, wife of the slain man, told police that at about 12:55 a.m. their doorbell rang and her husband opened the door. She said she heard a shot and Jimmy cried out. "Oh my God!" Immediately afterward, police were told, Shirley Curry went to Sabrina's room. As she opened the door, Sabrina asked, "Who is it?" and the woman answered, "It's your mother," At this point Saundra Curry fled the house and ran to a neighbor. She said she heard a second shot as she ran out the door, according to police.
The neighbor, Alice Gage, 402 Michael, told police she heard the first shot and was calling police when Saundra ran in to tell her that Jimmy had been shot.
Police said other neighbors who heard the shooting allegedly saw Shirley Curry leave the house with a pistol in her hand. They said she got into a pickup truck, drove to the house where Saundra Curry had fled, stopped in front of the house momentarily and then sped away.
Springdale police issued an alert to other law enforcement agencies in th4 area to be on the lookout for the truck. Then, accompanied by a state trooper, the Lowell city marshal and Benton County sheriff's deputies, they went to the suspect's home, located on a dirt road between Lowell and Cave Springs, arriving at about 1:15 a.m. They broke down the door and found Richard dead and Jesse wounded. Both had been shot. Jesse died at Springdale Memorial Hospital at about 2 a.m. Saturday.
The fifth murder came to light at 3:12 a.m. when the body of Jo Ann Brophy, 31, was found in the hallway of her home at 710 Young St. by Sanford Boone, a relative who had heard of the shootings and was checking on other members of the Curry family. She had been shot in the nose.
KNOCK AT DOOR
At about 1:30 a.m., according to Fayetteville police reports, James R. Dotson and his wife were sleeping at their home in Dotson Trailer Park at Farmington when they were awakened by a knocking at the door and someone calling out, "It's Shirley, let me in." When Dotson opened the door his wife said, "It's not her." A shot was fired through the opening in the door but it missed. A second shot struck Dotson in the face and he slammed the door and one of them struck Dotson in the back. He told police he then heard a vehicle being driven away.
Dotson was taken by ambulance to the VA Hospital in Fayetteville and at 5:30 a.m. Saturday was transferred to the VA Hospital in Little Rock where he was reported in satisfactory condition.
At 1:54 a.m., Fayetteville police stopped the wanted vehicle at Washington Drive and Garland Avenue and took Shirley Curry into custody. She reportedly had a .38 caliber pistol in her possession but offered no resistance. Police described her as "very calm." She was turned over to Springdale Police, who transferred her into the custody of the Washington County sheriff at 7:25 a.m. Saturday. She is being held without bond in the county jail pending filing of formal charges.
Authorities theorize that the Lowell killings occurred first, followed by the murders on Michael Street, the slaying of Jo Ann Brophy and the shooting of James Dotson.
Mahlon Gibson, Washington County Prosecuting Attorney,( Gary Kennan) could not be reached Saturday for confirmation of charges; however it is expected that first degree murder charges will be filed early this week in Benton Circuit Court in connection with the killings in Lowell.
Jimmy Lee Curry was born Jan. 24, 1931, in Springdale the son of Zack and Ida Ledbetter Curry. He was a member of the IOOF, VFW and was a veteran of the Korean conflict.
Survivors include his wife, Saundra Mollenhoff Curry of the home; two step-sons, David and John Shorter of the home; four step-brothers, Ralph and Russell Brophy, Fayetteville, Harley Brophy, St. Cloud, Minn., and Richard Brophy, Blackduck, Minn.; and two step-sisters, Mrs. Rosella Fefersorn, Minneapolis, Minn., and Mrs. Roberta Martinsen, Cluquet, Minn.
Sabrina Marie Curry was born Oct. 15, 1956, in Lynwood, Calif., and was a student of Springdale High School. Richard Allen Curry was born Dec. 29, 1959, in Springdale and Jessie Lee Curry was born Nov. 26, 1963, also in Springdale.
Sabrina, Richard and Jesse Curry were all the children of Jimmy L. and Shirley McBroom Curry. All three of the Curry children are survived by their mother, two step-brothers, David and John Shorter of the home; and their maternal, Mrs. Letha McBroom, Huntsville.
Jo Ann Brophy was born Feb. 23, 1943, in Springdale, the daughter of James and Ida Ledbetter Brophy.
Her survivors include four half-brothers, Ralph, Russell, Harley and Richard Brophy; and two half-sisters, Mrs. Rosella Fefercorn and Mrs. Roberta Martinsen.
Funeral services for all five victims will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Sisco Chapel with burial in Bluff Cemetery. [The Morning News – Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas – Sunday, July 21, 1974 – Page 1 Columns 1,2 & 3 – Page 2 Columns 5 & 6]
State sues convicted murderer for inheritance
Published Sunday, August 19, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE (AP) The state attorney general's office has sued to obtain the inheritance of a woman accused of killing five family members 30 years ago.
The state filed suit in Washington County Circuit Court on Friday to seize the $58,666 that Shirley Marie Curry is set to inherit from an estate.
In the lawsuit filed Friday, the state argued for Curry's inheritance, saying it had paid more than $270,000 to care for and incarcerate Curry over the past three decades.
The lawsuit says the state is entitled to seek reimbursement for the cost of caring for an inmate from any property or income that inmate might have. The state provides room, board, clothing, medical care and other living expenses for prisoners.
Curry, 70, allegedly went on a rampage after losing a child-custody battle with her ex-husband. She initially was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and sent to the State Hospital. After her release, and a 1978 mistrial, she was convicted Oct. 23, 1979, of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Curry lost custody of her oldest son July 19, 1974, to her ex-husband, Jimmy Lee Curry, after all three of her children testified against her during a hearing before Washington County Chancellor Thomas Butt.
The next day, Curry fatally shot her two sons, 14-year-old Richard and 11-year-old Jesse, at her home in Lowell. She then shot her ex-husband and her daughter, Sabrina, 17, before driving to Springdale and killing her husband's half-sister, JoAnn Brophy.
Curry then shot her sister's ex-husband, James Dodson, who survived the attack, authorities said.
Curry was arrested in the early morning of July 20, 1974, after Fayetteville police stopped her pickup truck and found a .38 revolver with one live round in the chamber on the passenger's seat.
After her conviction and until 1982, Ms. Curry wrote more than 15 threatening letters to judicial officials while in prison. She often referred to herself as "Thee" or "Thee of God." At one point, she threatened a plague of ice if her demands were not met.
Jimmy Lee Curry (1931 - 1974)
Sabrina Marie Curry (1956 - 1974)*
Richard Allen Curry (1959 - 1974)
Jessie Lee Curry (1963 - 1974)*
Note: Shares space with Jessie & Sabrina & Jimmy
Maintained by: John C. Jones
Originally Created by: Freda
Record added: May 28, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27173997
Added: May. 6, 2016
How I would love to have you for a big brother who I could look up to and love like my very own. Rest in peace, beautiful beloved child. You are forever safe in God's loving arms.|
Added: May. 29, 2014
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.May you find peace in the arms of Jesus.|
Added: Jun. 4, 2008