Suspect in untested rape kit case faces at least seven other rape charges

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Thirty-six-year-old Eric Curry sits in the Shelby County Jail, arrested two months ago for a rape that happened in 2003.

Curry is the latest suspect nabbed in the District Attorney's promise to go after those who eluded the law for years because rape kits connecting them to a crime sat on a shelf untested.

"It's all about prosecuting as many of these individuals as the law in the state of Tennessee allows us to," District Attorney Amy Weirich said in an interview with WREG last month.

They may be throwing down the gauntlet now, but lost time also opened the door for more crimes since 2003, with victims of heinous attacks pointing the finger at Curry.

Between August 2005 and January 2006, within just a few blocks  along Third Street, three different women told a very similar story of being lured into a white Jeep and raped at gunpoint.

They all identified Curry as their attacker.

WREG uncovered what seemed to have been a methodical pattern in targeted areas of South Memphis.

July 3, 2005 - At Elvis Presley Boulevard and Wilson, a woman walking near the Hawaiian Isle Club said a man in a White Jeep began talking to her and she got in his vehicle. He then pulled a gun, drove her to a secluded area, ordered her to remove her clothes, and repeatedly raped her. She called police, submitted to a rape kit, and identified Curry from a photo line-up.

August 31, 2005 - At Third Street and Brooks,  a  woman walking from the store with groceries said the driver of a White Jeep offered her a ride. She refused, but he insisted. She got in and said he pulled out a gun, drove to a cemetery, made her take off her clothes, used one of her plastic grocery bags as a condom, and raped her, even urinating on her before driving off. She too identified Curry.

September 8, 2005 - At Third and Peebles, a woman who got into a White Jeep said the driver put a pistol to her head, drove her a short distance away, and forced her to perform a sex act, sodomizing her with the pistol and urinating on her before dumping her and driving off.  At Police Sex Crimes, she identified the man as Curry,

Three rapes, all with the same MO, but no arrests. And the crime spree was far from over.

On January 8, 2006, a 15-year-old said a man in White Jeep forced her into his car at gunpoint and raped and sodomized her.

Seven days later, it happened again, this time at Third and Mitchell. A woman leaving the Crystal Palace Skating Rink says a man did the same thing to her.

It would happen two more times in matter of days. Attacks at South Parkway and Kerr on January 23, 2006, and at McLemore and Somerville on February 1, 2006.

The same type of vehicle, another secluded area...more rapes all pointing to Curry.

Police finally booked him February 26, 2006.

At least seven rapes that occurred after the 2003 attack for which Curry is now charged.

It shakes at the core of folks who live in the area and wonder why it took so long for an arrest.

"A lot of time you fearing, scared out here, thinking you may be raped again. Ain't nobody doing anything about it. The city doing nothing about it," Iann Davenport, who lives in South Memphis, said.

"That's a long time to have the burden over your head of a rape charge," Amaria Mallory of South Memphis said.

Leslie Ballin is Curry's attorney. His defense is that a lot of this could have been avoided years ago, since Curry had already been sentenced to ten years in prison for another rape case.

"When he was doing time, that rape kit was sitting on a shelf. If it had been tested timely, certainly more memories would be more accurate, rather or not there would be any witnesses," Ballin said.

Ballin says bringing charges now is a violation of his client's due process, a point he plans to push as he tries to get the rape charge thrown out, using as a defense a flawed system that he says did a disservice to everyone.

Curry will be in court on the latest rape indictment next week.

The District Attorney won’t comment on this specific case, but says she is prosecuting as many of these rape kit cases as possible .

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