Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Benjamin Curcuru - Baby Raper gets only 45 years

Benjamin Curcuru was found guilty of sodomizing his ex-girlfriend's two-year-old daughter and was sentenced to 45 years in prison and a $10,000 fine Tuesday.

During the punishment phase of the trial, some described Benjamin Curcuru as an honest family man, while others described him as a dangerous child predator.

After an hour and a half of deliberation, a jury sentenced 30-year-old Curcuru to 45 years behind bars.

During closing arguments, the defense pled with the jury to go easy on Curcuru, given his clean record.

"There is a biblical saying; one cannot have justice without mercy. We are asking for mercy," Defense Lawyer Mark DiCarlo said.

Before the punishment phase of the trial, jurors heard testimony from those who knew Curcuru best. While family and friends do not excuse what he did, they still say he has a good heart.

"He's honest, he's hardworking, he's kind, he'll do anything for anybody if you just ask him," Eric Black, Curcuru's friend, said.

"He's good with his family, good with his friends. He has a lot of friendships and he would often help people who were down," Curcuru's mother, Laurel Overland, said.

Others believe Curcuru is an absolute danger to the community.

Port Aransas Police Officer Darryl Johnson was asked, "In your opinion based on your training and experience, do you consider Mr. Benjamin Curcuru a dangerous man?"

Johnson replied, "Yes, I do."

Another person added, "I have never taken care of anyone that had tears like this and I have to say, they had to be incredibly painful when it occurred."

Curcuru's ex-girlfriend, Erica Friesenhahn, also took the stand, remorseful for the neglect of her two-year-old daughter. Friesenhahn said she takes full responsibility for her involvement in the child's injuries.

Charges are expected to be filed against her at a later date.

Even though Curcuru will spend years behind bars, the prosecution said the victim will have to live with the emotional scars for the rest of her life.

"She couldn't defend herself. There is no telling what horrible unspeakable things this child had to endure that we will never know," Prosecutor Sandra Eastwood said.


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