AP NEWS

Man sentenced to decades in prison in drug deal slaying

January 20, 2020 GMT

A man has been sentenced to decades in prison by a judge who told him he had “thrown his life away” by killing another man over a small amount of marijuana.

John Curtain, 20, was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison and ordered to spend at least 34 years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Monmouth County prosecutors said the Keansburg resident went to a Keyport apartment in August 2018 to buy marijuana but ended up trying to rob two men. The trio ended up wrestling on the floor before 20-year-old Evan Smutz was shot and killed.

Curtain said he acted in self-defense and the shooting was accidental. He was convicted in October of felony murder, aggravated manslaughter, armed robbery and weapons offenses.

Superior Court Judge Marc LeMieux said it was “unconscionable” that the victim was shot over a small amount of marijuana. He said the defendant appeared more upset about his conviction than about having killed another human being.

“I see someone who has thrown his life away,” LeMieux said. Curtain declined to address the court when given an opportunity to do so.

Defense attorney Carlos Diaz-Cobo said he plans to appeal the verdict and sentence.