TACOMA, WA – Today Vernon Curry, Jr., 34, was sentenced to over 47 years in prison for the murder of Michael Ward in the Lincoln District of Tacoma in September of 2014. Following a three week-long trial in May, a jury convicted Vernon Curry, Jr. of First Degree Murder. The judge heard statements in court by the family of Michael Ward, and reviewed letters from both the victim’s family and the defendant’s family. The judge agreed with the prosecution on the high end of the sentencing range in addition to a 120 month weapons enhancement for a total of 570 months.
At the sentencing hearing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Williams, called the crime a “slow burn,” instead of a crime committed in the heat of the moment.
Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist said, “Deputy Prosecuting attorneys Jesse Williams and Neil Horibe, put together a strong case on a senseless murder, and we’re pleased to see the defendant receive the functional equivalent of a life sentence.”
Curry, Jr. shot and killed the victim, Michael Ward shortly after 4 a.m. on September 7, 2014. Ward was seated in his brown Cadillac outside an afterhours nightclub when the defendant approached the passenger side of the vehicle and fired multiple shots into the vehicle, hitting him several times. The defendant was wearing all black and was recorded by nearby surveillance cameras pulling a black mask over his head as he approached Ward’s vehicle. After the shots were fired, the defendant was seen fleeing the scene on foot. Michael Ward died shortly afterward as a result of the gunshot wounds.
Tacoma Police arrested Curry, Jr. that same morning when he returned to the area shortly after the shooting.
John Nourse, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office