Judge: Fry guilty of voluntary manslaughter

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 03, 2009 11:43 AM

Curtis Fry is guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Patrick McEwen, 6th District Judge Mitchell Turner said Friday morning.

“Ladies and gentlemen: take note,” Turner said at the conclusion. “A good man died, and another may have to pay for it.”

In finding Fry guilty on the lesser-included voluntary manslaughter charge, Turner threw out the state’s charge of second-degree murder. The 22-year-old will spend a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Fry’s sentencing is scheduled for May 7 at 10 a.m.

On Feb. 7, 2008, Fry traveled from Wilton, Iowa, to celebrate his 21st birthday. On day two of the non-jury trial, Turner heard how the evening found Fry — whom witnesses later described as an honest, religious, and peaceful high-school athlete — reeling around the downtown bars.

Iowa City police arrested Fry the next day. They said they recovered his wallet and blood-stained jeans from McEwen’s apartment on South Van Buren Street.

An autopsy showed McEwen died from blunt-force trauma to his head and neck. His door was cracked and the lock broken in, and investigators found his body lying between the bathtub and toilet of his bathroom.

This morning Turner narrated what the state believes were McEwen’s last moments. The elderly man appeared to have survived long enough after the attack to try to clean off the blood. With his cane, McEwen may have walked outside to see where Fry had gone.

Outside the courthouse Friday, Fry’s parents apologized for what their son had done.

Read Monday’s Daily Iowan for extended coverage of the verdict.

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