Man indicted in cab driver’s murder

FRONT ROYAL – A Warren County Circuit Court grand jury has indicted Clay Marshall Curtis for first-degree murder in the death of Front Royal cab driver Simon Funk Jr.

Curtis, 62, was taken into custody hours before authorities found Funk dead from a gunshot wound in the early morning hours of Dec. 10 in the 700 block of Kildare Drive. A petition for a writ of habeus corpus filed by Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden states that Curtis has been held in a federal prison in West Virginia.

Authorities have been holding Curtis in prison since his arrest on a federal probation violation, but he had not been charged with any offense related to Funk’s death until the grand jury handed up its indictments, which also include use of a firearm while committing a felony, possessing a weapon as a violent felon and attempted murder.

“I don’t have anything further to add right now because we’re in the process of getting him out of federal custody and bringing him to Warren County,” Madden said in an email Friday afternoon. “Once he’s in control of local law enforcement, we may be able to provide more details.”

Funk, 42, a cab driver from Front Royal, has been described by a co-worker and in a search warrant document as an acquaintance of Curtis.

The search warrant document states that Curtis answered a cell phone call late on Dec. 10 from a woman identified as Funk’s girlfriend. The document quotes Curtis as telling the woman: “I’m going to prison forever, and I killed him.”

The search warrant was executed at the Relax Inn motel at 1525 N. Shenandoah Ave. hours after the discovery of Funk’s body. The document lists first- and second-degree murder as the charges related to the investigation.

The search warrant states that Funk told his girlfriend earlier on Dec. 10 that he was going to give Curtis a ride into the county but that he was worried about a gun that Curtis was carrying.

Curtis was arrested four months after he had been released from federal prison. Authorities had been seeking him since October when he failed to report for a scheduled mental health exam on Oct. 2, 2014.

Curtis’ previous criminal record included a sentence of 24 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a gun.

The indictment against Curtis for attempted murder lists the victim as Jeff Sisler and the date of the alleged offense as Dec. 9, the same date listed for Funk’s murder. No information further details were available on the attempted murder charge.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com