Updated: Thursday, 20 Jan 2011, 3:51 PM EST
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - A central Indiana man has been sentenced to 55 years in prison for stabbing to death his sleeping wife with an ornamental dagger.
Forty-six-year-old Thomas E. Curtis was sentenced Wednesday by a Delaware County judge who had found Curtis guilty of murder but mentally ill last month in the December 2009 killing of his 27-year-old wife, Crystal, in the couple's Muncie home.
Authorities said Curtis immediately called 911 dispatchers after the fatal attack and said, "I think I just killed my wife."
The Star Press reports that mental health professionals testified during Curtis' bench trial that he had been diagnosed with bi-polar and "intermittent explosive" disorders, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Public defender Kelly Bryan said his client's "thinking was disturbed by mental illness."
August 26, 2011
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a judge wrongly sentenced a Muncie man to prison for killing his wife and that he should instead be sent to a mental hospital. The decision overturns the verdict of guilty but mentally ill on murder charges that Thomas Curtis, 47, received last year after a bench trial. It orders that he be found not guilty by reason of insanity for stabbing Crystal Curtis, 27, with an ornamental dagger while she slept in 2009.
The Star Press reported that a psychiatrist testified that Curtis might not spend much time hospitalized after going on anti-psychotic medications. The appeals court ruled that the judge's concerns over public safety weren't grounds for a guilty verdict. Delaware County prosecutors say an appeal of the ruling is unlikely.