Murder parolee in Schenectady faces many more years in prison
SCHENECTADY When inmate Isaiah Curry came up for parole in 2010 the parole board wanted to make sure he knew the consequences, should he get in trouble again on the outside.
The worst-case scenario, the parole commissioner told him, was the rest of his life in prison.
Curry indicated he understood. He also told the parole board that the life he led before, the one that led him to take part in the killing of pizza delivery man Hassan Noorzai in November 2000 at age 15, was “past tense.”
“I am no longer that person,” he told the parole board then, according to a transcript of the proceedings. “I am no longer in that same frame of mind, period. That seems like a lifetime ago.”
Curry, now 28, appeared in Schenectady County Court on Monday for a new indictment charging him with burglary and robbery among other charges.
He is accused of forcing his way into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment Sept. 19, punching her in the face and throwing her into an aluminum screen door. The victim injured her foot, according to court papers, and Curry allegedly stole a key from her.
The incident happened in the same public housing complex in which Curry and the two others killed Noorzai, and came about five months after Curry’s latest release from state prison.
He was first released from prison on parole in November 2010, having served the minimum on his total 10 years to life sentence in Noorzai’s killing. He was returned to custody in May 2012, after admitting to violating his parole by breaking curfew and smoking marijuana, records show. He then was held until April 5 of this year, when he was released again.
Curry faces up to 15 years in state prison just on the new charges, if convicted. He could also face extra time on his original murder conviction for violating his release conditions.
Curry was represented in court Monday by attorney John Della Ratta, who said afterward he was still gathering information, but said his client says he legitimately had a key to the apartment.
Prosecutor Brian Gray said later that, even if Curry had a key, that wouldn’t impact the charges he faces. He declined to comment further.
Curry remains in custody, held without bail.
Police arrested Noorzai’s three killers within 48 hours of his death. Marty Humphrey and Theodore Haynes were 16 at time of the killing. Haynes pleaded guilty, while Humphrey was convicted after a trial.
Curry, who was 15 at the time, pleaded guilty to robbery and murder and testified against Humphrey. His sentence consisted of one year in prison for a prior robbery and nine years to life for the Noorzai murder, the maximum allowed at the time for a 15-year-old.
Because Humphrey and Haynes were 16 at the time, they were sentenced as adults, and drew 46 years to life in prison. As such, they are still 33 years away from their first audience in front of a parole board.
The three killed Noorzai inside a Yates Village apartment, luring him there by ordering pizza, soda and bread sticks Nov. 28, 2000. According to Curry‘s testimony at Humphrey’s trial, Humphrey grabbed Noorzai while Haynes hit him with a bat. Humphrey then dragged Noorzai inside, where Haynes ultimately delivered the fatal blows.
The trio made off with $15. Curry’s cut was $5. They spent it on marijuana.
Regarding Noorzai’s killing, Curry told the parole board in 2010 that he felt like he had progressed as a person, that he didn’t feel like he was a violent person. As proof, he pointed to his institutional record, which included only one minor infraction.
Curry told the parole board that he realized that he made a “grave mistake” and that he has to look in the mirror every day and think about what he did.
“I played a part in taking this man from his wife and his kids and it haunts me every day,” he told the parole board.
Noorzai was an immigrant from Afghanistan who had lived in the Capital Region for 18 years. He worked as a civil engineer until his employer went bankrupt. He then became an assistant manager for Domino’s Pizza on State Street.
The family won a $1 million judgment in 2006 from the city Municipal Housing Authority for its response to an earlier pizza delivery robbery, perpetrated by the same teens.