Undoubtedly influenced by treacly tales about how Curtis Vance was abused as a child, the same jury which convicted Vance of capital murder, residential burglary, rape and theft of property in the mutilation and murder case of KATV anchor Anne Presly pulled its punches during the penalty phase. They chose life without parole instead of death for Vance.
-- CNN: Man gets life without parole in Arkansas TV anchor's murder
-- KARK Channel 4: Update: Curtis Vance Sentenced to Life in Prison (with video)
-- KATV Channel 7 Little Rock: Channel 7 - The Curtis Vance Trial: Complete Coverage
-- Newsnet14: Vance Guilty In Presly Murder, Rape
-- Additional reaction posted on Stormfront and the Vanguard News Network Forum
KATV Channel 7 news video embedded below:
The sheer ferocity of the attack was appalling, perhaps even exceeding the ferocity of the torture, rape, and murder of Channon Christian in Knoxville, TN. At least Christian's face was still recognizable after her body was recovered. Not so in the Anne Presly case - in 2008, Presly's mother, Patti Canady, told NBC "I found my daughter beyond recognition, with every bone in her face broken, her nose broken, her jaw pulverized so badly that the bone had come out of it...I actually thought that her throat had possibly been cut. Her entire skull had numerous fractures from which she suffered a massive stroke."
In a desperate attempt to counter this, the defense team repeatedly played the "abuse card" during the trial and again at the sentencing hearing. Two doctors who testified about Vance's mental state opined that Vance has frontal lobe damage to his brain as well as cognitive impairment. Vance's own mother Jacqueline Vance Burnett testified as to how she abused Vance as a child. In one instance, she publicly admitted that in the fall of 1987, when Curtis was 7 years old, she had slammed his head into a brick wall one day when she was mad at him. He was supposed to be watching his little brother and his little brother had pooped in his pants. She relayed how Curtis was going in and out of consciousness at the time, and how she told him in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that he couldn’t tell the truth, that he had to lie and say he had fallen. Her testimony served to reinforce the two doctors' opinions, convincing the jury to spare Vance's life.
In reaction to the verdict, Guy Cannady, stepfather of the victim, said ""Tonight, they have come back with a sentence, a sentence that they believe, and we share with them, is the harshest possible sentence for this gentleman going forward, where he will now spend the rest of his natural life in a 6-by-9 cell with nothing to think about but what he has done... . It's not until he's carried out of Tucker Max in a pine box will he really meet his true judgment," Cannady explained, referring to Arkansas' Tucker Maximum Security Prison. He said he was not disappointed that Vance did not receive the death penalty.
But Pressly's mother Patti Cannady was a bit less "forgiving". After the verdict was read, Patti mouthed "It's OK" to prosecutor Larry Jegley, nodded, and tucked her hands over her heart. But as she left the courtroom, Cannady leaned toward the defense attorneys and said, "You protected someone who should have never been protected."
Most of Vance's "homies" in Marianna, AR where he grew up agreed with the life sentence. They all say this is not the Curtis Vance they knew.
A schoolteacher from Marianna also says she was raped by Curtis Vance. Kristen Edwards took the stand last week during Vance's trial to talk about her attack. Prosecutors wanted to wait until after the murder sentencing before deciding whether or not to pursue charges against Vance for that crime.