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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

‘I’m no terrorist,’ says Spokane County Jail inmate under FBI review who’s held on $1 million bond

Jerome Curry Jr. converted to Islam while in prison in 2010, but he claims he’s hardly devout. He eats pork, drinks booze and gets high. He doesn’t attend a mosque.

His rapsheet is long and varied; it includes more than a few charges for violent and reckless behavior. In January 2015, court records say, he was charged with intimidation for angrily threatening to “smash up” a corrections officer at the Spokane County Jail.

Curry doesn’t claim to be an angel. But he said he’s baffled that the FBI has linked him to murderous radical groups.

Newly filed court documents say Curry is involved in “radical Islam,” has claimed to know members of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and threatened to “blow up” a woman after getting out of prison.

Curry has not been charged in connection to the terrorism claims. But prosecuting attorney Jared Cordts brought them up in court Wednesday while urging Judge Gregory Sypolt to impose a $1 million bond, a request Sypolt granted.

Said Curry in an interview, “I’m no terrorist. They knew I said I wasn’t connected to ISIS. I told them I’m just a Muslim.”

Return from prison

On July 13, Curry was released from prison in Shelton, Washington, where he served seven months for the incident at the county jail. Twelve days later, the 47-year-old was arrested again at a house in the 2000 block of East Hartson Avenue.

In an interview Wednesday at the jail, Curry said the house was the only place he had to go. He said his grandparents were the legal owners, but they died recently and relatives were renting out the house.

When he arrived, Curry found a woman who started renting the house more than a year ago but had stopped paying and had been squatting there for months, he said. She turned the place into a “drug house,” even though the family had repeatedly ordered her to leave, he said.

“I gave her an eviction notice before I left here in January,” Curry said, referring to the time of his latest sentencing.

Authorities allege that Curry threatened to kill the woman and “put her into the floorboards,” according to court documents. He allegedly told detectives “he would return to that address and ‘blow her up’ and ‘make her wish that she was dead.’”

On Wednesday, Curry denied making any threats and laughed when a prosecutor suggested the woman “was No. 1 on his kill list.”

However, he admitted to breaking a large window on the front of the house, for which he was charged with malicious mischief. He also faces misdemeanor and felony harassment charges.

Curry’s nephew Ian Curry, girlfriend Ann Miller and friend Ashley Hall attended Curry’s court hearing Wednesday and gave similar accounts. They said the woman has long been a nuisance, and Curry had good reason to be angry.

“We were all heated, but nobody was threatening anybody,” Miller said.

Alleged ties to ‘radical Islam’

On Monday, an FBI agent and a Spokane police detective visited the jail to interview Curry about a separate matter: his alleged ties to “radical Islam.”

According to court documents, the state Department of Corrections told investigators Curry had claimed to know members of al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

During the interview, Curry allegedly said he planned to commit “terrorist acts” and “wanted to do violence on government officials, police and any civilian citizens that happened to be ‘at the wrong place at the wrong time.’”

Curry allegedly claimed he had access to guns and bombs and cited his years of criminal history, but court documents offer no supporting evidence.

On Wednesday, Curry claimed the investigators twisted his words.

“They asked me if I could get some explosives, and I said basically anyone can go out and get some of that stuff,” he said. “Anybody who knows me … they’ll tell you I don’t want to kill police.”

The Spokane Police Department declined to comment, and the FBI offered only this statement: “The FBI meets with a variety of people in the course of conducting routine activities. We consider the information we receive for its merit. Such a review does not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation.”

Meanwhile, Ian Curry said his uncle, who dropped out of school in the eighth grade and takes a prescribed medication for bipolar disorder, is prone to saying stupid things.

“Anything he’s saying, it’s not believable (because) he’s pissed off,” the younger Curry said.

But Cordts, the prosecuting attorney, said, “If law enforcement has twisted his words, they’ve done a very good job of doing so.”

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