FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Scott Curley faces up to life in prison when he’s sentenced this week in the fatal shooting of a Utah sheriff’s deputy in 2010.
Curley already had acknowledged his guilty to authorities and mental health experts before formally pleading guilty last month in the death of Kane County Deputy Brian Harris, and to charges of burglary, theft and aggravated assault in an agreement with prosecutors. In doing so, he avoided a weekslong trial and prosecution on pornography charges in a second case.
Harris’ family and colleagues will have an opportunity to testify Thursday and Friday during the sentencing hearing in Coconino County Superior Court in Flagstaff.
Authorities say Harris had been tracking Curley, who was wanted for burglary, when he was ambushed along the Arizona-Utah border. Curley fled into the wilderness following the shooting and was captured four days later near Kanab, Utah.
Curley had described the shooting consistently, saying he hid under a tree and intentionally fired an assault rifle at someone who didn’t listen to his demands to freeze. He told one mental health expert that he’d be a fool not to take a plea agreement because “I’m guilty,” although one hadn’t been offered to him at the time.
The case was scheduled to go to trial earlier this month, after a judge ruled that he was competent. The prosecution and defense had agreed that Curley was mentally ill, with his own attorney saying Curley was intent on proving psychotic beliefs, but they disagreed on whether he could aid in his defense.