Court again denies Curran's appeal
HARRISBURG - The state Superior Court has once again denied an appeal of convicted murderer Richard C. Curran of Shamokin.
In a ruling released May 14, the court affirmed a decision from the Post Conviction Relief Act court made July 10, 2013, when Curran raised multiple allegations of ineffectiveness on the part of his attorney, Karl E. Rominger, in his 2008 trial for shooting to death his former wife, Tina Curran, 31, of Mount Carmel, in 2005 at a loading dock at Shamokin Area Community Hospital, where she worked as a nurse.
Curran argued that he was deprived of his constitutional right to effective council when Rominger failed to explore mental illness as a diminished capacity defense.
The PCRA court ruled that although Curran was initially found incompetent to stand trial, treatment made him able to face his charges. They also found that Rominger's defense strategy he used was a reasonable one.
Based on a review of the testimony from the court, the Superior Court said Curran failed to prove his argument of ineffective counsel and affirmed the PCRA order.
Curran had previously filed an appeal to the Superior Court on the argument that autopsy photos of the victim could have unfairly influenced the jury at his June 2008 trial.
The Superior Court, in a four-page ruling filed Sept. 8, 2010, said Curran's argument was "meritless," and that Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage "carefully weighed and considered the admissibility of the photographs and accorded appropriate weight to their prohibitive value."
Curran argued that the gruesome nature of the photographs rendered them inflammatory, and that they were unnecessarily given the testimony of the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy. His position was considered under the standard of abuse of discretion, according to the ruling, but the three-judge court did not agree.
On June 20, 2008, Curran was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first degree murder, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person in connection with the fatal shooting of his ex-wife Aug. 24, 2005.
Curran, who was the chief of the one-person Bernville Police Department at the time of the murder, was arrested later that evening while trying to cross the Canadian border in Niagara Falls, N.Y. He was charged by Coal Township Police Chief William Carpenter.