Police Chief Given Life after Victim's Family Speaks Against Death Sentence

A former Pennsylvania police chief was sentenced to life without parole on June 20, 2008, for the murder of his 31-year old ex-wife after the victim's family spoke against a death sentence at the penalty hearing. The district attorney had planned to seek the death penalty against Richard Curran, just as he had for every murder case in the last 13 years. However, Bonnie Smith, the victim’s mother, testified at the penalty phase that her family wanted him to be given life in prison. “Smith made the request to the court after reading a prepared statement on behalf of the victim’s family and an emotional letter from Tina Curran’s 10-year-old daughter, Caitlyn.” After hearing the wishes of the victim’s family, the Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini dropped his plan to seek the death penalty and requested that Curran receive life in prison. Rosini stated he believes justice was served in the case and the punishment was appropriate for the crime. Richard Curran expressed remorse for his actions and thanked the family for helping spare his life.

(M. Gilger, “Curran gets life; family wishes lead D.A. to abandon try for death sentence,” The News Item, June 21, 2008).  See Victims and Arbitrariness.