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Lawyers Try To Stop Trial Again

July 24, 1998

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ Lawyers for a man who earned As and Bs in college after being declared mentally incompetent to face a murder charge are trying for a second time to spare him a trial.

Kenneth Curtis, 32, was found mentally incompetent to stand trial in the 1987 murder of his ex-girlfriend but was rearrested in November after authorities found him getting high grades at Southern Connecticut State University.

Defense attorneys, who have fought attempts to hold a competency hearing for Curtis, contend prosecutors illegally seized his academic records, and have asked to have the murder charged dismissed.

Superior Court Judge John Ronan did not immediately rule on Thursday’s motion, but appeared to be leaning toward denying it. The judge cited his earlier denial, telling defense attorney Salvatore DePiano he was using arguments similar to those he used before.

DePiano also argued that the state does not have the right to seek a new competency hearing because the courts made a final decision on the issue in 1990.

Curtis is accused of shooting 21-year-old Donna Kalson in the head outside a Stratford restaurant on Oct. 30, 1987. After allegedly killing the Shelton woman and wounding her date, Curtis shot himself in the head, suffering brain damage and partial paralysis.

He was ruled incompetent to stand trial after psychiatrists said he was incapable of communicating with his lawyers.

In 1989, after a fourth competency hearing, a judge ordered him discharged from custody, but ordered to undergo annual psychiatric evaluations. An appeals court said in 1990 that no monitoring was necessary.

Curtis is free on $75,000 bond.

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