Mesa woman’s death typifies violence cycle — (The Arizona Republic)

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The Arizona Republic

Patricia Biggs

Dec. 1, 2002 12:00 AM

A Mesa man drank four beers at a friend’s house, then went home and swallowed anti-depressants and codeine before beating his wife to death with a hammer, according to a police interview released Friday.
“She put up a good struggle,” the transcripts quote Arthur Curthoys as saying.
From a hospital bed where Curthoys was recovering from self-inflicted stab wounds, he told Mesa homicide Detective Don Vogel that he had been “going over this in my head, what needs to be done, for the last couple of weeks.”
Curthoys, 50, has been charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 13 death of his wife, Kimberly.
The 38-year-old woman became a victim in the growing problem of domestic violence, said Mesa Detective Jerry Smith, who works at the Center Against Family Violence.
“When you get toward Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s a bad time of the year. People think they should be happy, and they’re not,” Smith said. But, he said, “You can’t isolate and say, ‘The holidays are here, so domestic violence is going to be up.’ ”
He wants people to know there is free counseling available for victims and abusers.
“What we try to do, here at the center, is to empower that woman: ‘You have to become a survivor.’ That’s where the education starts,” Smith said.
On the other hand, Smith tries to wake the abusers up to their reality:
“This is the path that you’re going down, that leads to anger and you’re taking that anger out on another person. You have to stop that.”
In the interview with Vogel, Curthoys said he and Kimberly were considering divorce.
“We’ve just been kind of lying low trying to survive in the same, and it just, it just got to me,” Curthoys said.
He wanted to shoot his wife and then himself, but didn’t know where to get a gun.
That night, he had dinner and beers at a friend’s house, where he talked about “losing a wife.” At home, his wife had just had a massage, then worked on her computer before going to bed. Curthoys took a shower, then asked his wife about some anti-depressants and codeine she had.
“I walked out to the kitchen and took a handful of stuff and washed them down,” he said.
“I went into the garage and got that big hammer and went to work.”
Vogel asked Curthoys exactly what he meant.
“I walked over to her and she looked up at me and I looked down to her and took the first whack at her,” Curthoys said.
He described the struggle his wife put up: “I just kept trying to hit her with it, you know, and I was trying to wrestle her and trying to wrestle with one arm and hit with the other arm type of deal.”
He told Vogel he thought he’d hit his wife a dozen times with the hammer. Then he cleaned up the mess, “and just sat in the bedroom and drank a couple more beers trying to figure out my next move, or waiting for the pills to kick in.”
The pills didn’t seem to have an effect, so Curthoys called 911 and reported the homicide. Then he stabbed himself and hid in a storage room out back.
“I laid out there for a long time and I thought, well between the medicine and me bleeding here that should just do it for me.” He was arrested without incident.
“Probably it was the wrong thing to do, but at that time that’s what I, I needed to do to her,” he told Vogel.
Although Curthoys has a history of domestic violence in New York, Smith said the couple were unknown at the Mesa center. It’s stories like the Curthoys’ that Smith uses when he’s trying to persuade victims to break the cycle of abuse.
“Someone lost a life,” Smith said. “It’s unfortunate, but that person is a martyr to help someone else.”
Reach the reporter at patricia.biggs@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-7961.