DUPO MAN FOUND GUILTY OF MULTIPLE, VIOLENT FEDERAL OFFENSES
A Dupo, Illinois, man was convicted of eight counts today following a three-day jury trial held in United States District Court in East St. Louis, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced. During the trial, jurors heard evidence that Thomas Cureton, 30, dealt crack cocaine across from Franklin Elementary School in Belleville, possessed a firearm, and kidnaped an 18 year old woman and took her to Washington Park, where he then bound and beat her extensively while threatening to disfigure her with a knife and placing a firearm to her head while threatening to kill her. Cureton then called family members of the kidnaped woman and demanded ransom money for her release. The kidnaped woman’s grandfather testified that Cureton said, “I’m going to keep hurting her until I get my money.”
“This is a wonderful set of verdicts and a proud day for justice!” remarked United States Attorney Wigginton. “Jurors did a great job in helping to remove a very violent offender from our community. Their actions make this area a better place for all.” United States Attorney Wigginton noted.
Jurors found Cureton guilty of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, guilty of three counts of Distribution of Crack Cocaine Near a School, guilty of one count of Interstate Communication of a Ransom Demand, guilty of one count of Attempted Extortion Affecting Interstate Commerce, and guilty of two counts of Using a Firearm in Furtherance of Crimes of Violence. Jurors did find Cureton not guilty on one count of distribution of a controlled substance.
The case was investigated by the Illinois State Police, the St. Clair County Drug Task Force Unit, the Belleville Police Department, the Glen Carbon Police Department, and the Working Against Violent Elements (WAVE) detail.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin Burke and Don Boyce.
At his sentencing in District Court, currently set for November 28, 2011, at 1:30 pm, Cureton faces up to life imprisonment.