First degree murder conviction in Clay County

CORNING, AR – Scott Ellington, District Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas, announces that a jury in Clay County found Bryan Curtis, 46, guilty of First Degree Murder on Friday.

The case concerned the June 12, 2016 shooting death of James Prater, 55.

After only fifty-five (55) minutes of deliberation, the jury returned to the courtroom with a guilty verdict. Judge Randy Philhours followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Curtis to twenty-five (25) years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.


District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington and Deputy Prosecutor Mike Trail represented the State of Arkansas.

“I appreciate the jury’s thoughtful consideration of the evidence and thank them for being willing to spend time away from their work and families to perform this vital civic duty,” Ellington said.

He also praised the work of the Corning Police Department, Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller and his deputies, lead investigator Special Agent Creston Hutton and other members of the Arkansas State Police for their thorough investigations in this case.

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