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Killer who dressed as a cop up for parole

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- It was the kind of crime that sends shivers up the backs of mothers everywhere.

An innocent 18-year-old girl was pulled over by what she thought was a police officer.  But that officer turned out to be a monster who raped and killed her.  Now that killer, James Curtis, wants to be released from prison.

It was 5:30 in the morning, Mother's Day 1975.  18-year-old college student, Suzanne Candler, was headed home on I-75 to surprise her mom in Lima.  She didn't make it.

Julie Wilson from the Hamilton County prosecutor's office said, "This is one of those really, really horrible cases.  It is truly the intersection of good and evil."

Galbraith Road on I-75, Candler was pulled over by what she thought was a police car complete with flashing lights.  Inside the car James Curtis, a one-time security guard, was dressed like a cop.  He raped the 18-year-old girl, shot her in the head and dumped her body in the bushes.

Wilson explained, "They found the gun that he used to shoot her, they found that in his trunk.  They found her purse, her ring and her watch in his home when they searched his home."

Lisa Mull took care of Suzanne's mom for years before she died.  Lisa still has Suzanne's Barbie dolls and she made Suzanne's mom a promise.  She promised her that Curtis would never see the light of day.

"And she did ask me if it ever does come about and she was gone if I would step up and represent her and Suzanne," Mull said.

Making this whole situation worse was the fact that one hour before Curtis raped and murdered Suzanne Candler he had stopped another woman on 75 near 275.  She managed to get away from him and later identified him to police.  But earlier that same evening Curtis had been pulled over by a real cop and warned about impersonating an officer.  Because of the way the law was written then, there really wasn't much the real cop could do about it.

Assistant prosecutor Wilson said, "There was a crime for impersonating a police officer but you had to be committing another crime and it was a low level offense.  The law's so old it was hard to even research it but it was a low level offense."

Already designated a sexual predator, Thursday 66-year-old James Curtis goes up for a parole hearing.  James Curtis was originally sentenced to death for the murder of Suzanne Candler, but that became life in prison a few years back when Ohio over turned the death penalty.  Shortly after Curtis was convicted Ohio changed the law on impersonating a police officer and made it a felony as a result of this case.

CLICK HERE to voice your opinion on whether James Curtis should get out of prison.



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