Prosecutor says murder defendant confessed to inmate

Clay Curtis

FRONT ROYAL — Defense attorney John Bell will continue to represent accused murderer Clay Marshall Curtis, despite law enforcement officials’ assertion that Marshall confessed to another jail inmate — also a Bell client — that he fatally shot Front Royal cab driver Simon Funk in December 2014.

Bell, citing his representation of the other inmate, Michael Turner of Remington, filed a motion to withdraw as both Curtis’ and Turner’s attorney in their separate cases. Circuit Judge Clifford L. Athey granted Bell’s motion to withdraw from Turner’s case Monday, but denied the motion to withdraw from Curtis’ case.

Turner, who is facing grand larceny and burglary charges, allegedly told a guard at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail what Curtis had allegedly confessed to, and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office was immediately given that information.

Athey said that he did not see a conflict because Turner did not share the information with Bell directly, and added that if Bell can supplement his motion with any additional argument, it will be heard on the first day of the trial.

Bell noted that he will consult with the Virginia Bar Association on the matter.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton said that Turner will likely be the prosecution’s first witness during the trial because of the information he has. Athey granted David Hensley, the other attorney representing Curtis, three days from Monday to file any motions to exclude Turner as a witness in the case. Those motions will also be heard on the first day of trial.

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