Gabriel Curtis, 41, of Saucier will spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering 75-year-old Willis Cassidy Jr.
A Harrison County jury deliberated about three hours before finding Curtis guilty of the crime. Judge Christopher Schmidt imposed the mandatory sentence.
Curtis also was found guilty of being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon and was sentenced to 10 years that will run during his life sentence, a news release from District Attorney Joel Smith’s office says.
The murder investigation began when someone reported to authorities that Curtis had admitted during a Facebook chat to killing his roommate the previous day. When county sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Saucier home, they found a dead dog and blood-saturated blankets inside.
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While the deputies were at the house, Curtis pulled up in the victim’s car.
The deputies learned that Curtis, Cassidy’s paid caretaker, had gotten into an argument with the elderly man. Curtis said he unintentionally killed Cassidy during the argument and took his body to an abandoned road near the Alabama state line.
Curtis testified in his own defense, the news release says. Curtis said he feared for his own life during the argument because Cassidy pulled a gun. When questioned by Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker, Curtis admitted that Cassidy was in poor health.
Curtis also admitted that he hit Cassidy numerous times with a gun and strangled the elderly man.
“After killing Mr. Cassidy, this defendant did not call 911 but instead tried to hide his crime by cleaning up the evidence and taking Mr. Cassidy’s body to a desolate area,” Parker said in the news release.