A Lexington Park man was sentenced Monday to 18 months in jail after he pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing a firearm and attempting to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.
Davian M. Curtis, who was 20 at the time, was arrested in January for having a gun and marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Law officers were investigating a burglary in the Coronado Drive area when a car approached, backed up and entered a driveway, court papers state, and Curtis was in the passenger seat when police asked him to get out of the vehicle, and patted his clothing.
St. Mary’s sheriff’s Cpl. Brandon Foor wrote in a statement of probable cause that “I felt a handgun in the front right jacket pocket of his jacket, and told him not to move. I placed him into handcuffs, and retrieved a loaded High Point JCP .40-caliber handgun.”
In addition, the charging papers state, “inside Curtis’ underwear was a purple Crown Royal bag, containing a large bag of marijuana and three small bags of marijuana,” along with a digital scale in his jacket, and $624 in his pants pocket.
The handgun was confirmed to be stolen in North Carolina, court papers state.
St. Mary’s Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling said in a sentence hearing Monday that Curtis was not the original target when police were investigating the burglary.
“We don’t believe Mr. Curtis was involved in that burglary now,” she said. Sterling added that Curtis matched the description of the original culprit and described the situation as a “wrong place, wrong time” scenario since he was apprehended anyway.
Curtis, now 21, was originally facing eight counts of charges, including a felony charge related to possessing a firearm while having a controlled dangerous substance. Sterling said the state negotiated with the defense to avoid having a felony on the defendant’s record.
Despite the negotiations, the state’s attorney said Curtis should still receive a reasonable punishment. She requested a 10-year sentence suspended down to five years in the department of corrections.
“This is the classic ‘wrong place, wrong time,’” Hammad Matin, Curtis’ attorney, said. He thanked Sterling for the negotiations before saying, “she did allow Mr. Curtis the benefit of pleading to two misdemeanors.”
Matin also noted Curtis’ family was present and how supportive they were of his client.
He said Curtis can be a law-abiding citizen and his actions did not match the person he truly is.
“That is not who Davian Curtis is, and that’s not who he was raised to be,” the defense attorney said.
Matin noted that Curtis has no prior criminal offenses, he was not a problem student in school and there were no negative incidents during the five months he has been in jail.
Matin said Curtis’ family wants him home so he asked St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Michael J. Stamm to “bet on him” and requested Curtis be sentenced locally with work release.
“I apologize to my family for putting them through everything,” Curtis said in court. He said to the judge, “I promise I’m not going to be in front of you again.”
Stamm said he can see Curtis has a good family, but they may not know who he really is.
“What’s really bad is that you’re not a drug user … you’re a businessman,” Stamm said. “And I doubt your family knows that.”
The judge recalled Matin’s comment about how he’s never been in trouble, and wondered if Curtis has just never been caught. Despite his doubt, Stamm said, “I’m going to take a chance on you.”
He sentenced Curtis to 18 months in county jail with a continued one-year sentence. “You’re not getting this because of you,” Stamm told the defendant. “I’m giving you this because of your family.” He also granted Curtis work release so he can pay his family back.