PHOENIX – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment here late today against George Leo Curran, IV, 42, of Chandler, Ariz. Curran is charged with Hostage Taking and Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence for holding nine hostages at gunpoint for several hours on Thursday, February 23, 2006.
Curran appeared today before Magistrate Judge Lawrence O. Anderson for a detention hearing and arraignment. During the hearing, Curran pleaded not guilty to the charges and a trial date was set for April 18, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. in front of U.S. District Court Judge Earl H. Carroll.
During the hearing, Curran asked Judge Anderson if he could represent himself in lieu of being represented by his court-appointed attorney. Judge Anderson eventually ordered a competency evaluation for Curran and continued the detention hearing until competency is determined.
A conviction for Hostage Taking carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison, a
$250,000 fine or both. A conviction for Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years up to life in prison (to be served consecutively with any other sentenced imposed), a $250,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Carroll will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the FBI and the Phoenix Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Kurt Altman, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.