Charges against woman in kidnapping case bound over

Published 8:29 am Friday, June 23, 2017

Charges against a Hampton woman in connection with a police investigation into the kidnapping of an elderly man earlier this year have been bound over to a Grand Jury.

On Thursday, Lana Lavenia Curbey, 38, of 620 Swimming Pool Road, Hampton, appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court before Judge David Shults, of Unicoi County. Shults presided over the General Sessions Court proceedings after Carter County General Sessions Court Judge Keith Bowers Jr. recused himself from hearing the case, citing a conflict of interest.

Curbey was arrested by the Carter County Sheriff’s Office in January and charged with being an accessory after the fact to especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault. Officers also charged her with possession of Schedule IV drugs.

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During Thursday court proceeding, Curbey’s attorney, Josh Hardin, informed the Court his client was waiving her right to a preliminary hearing in the case. Shults then ordered the case to be bound over to the Grand Jury and instructed Curbey to appear in Carter County Criminal Court on Oct. 2.

The charges against Curbey stem from an investigation launched by the Carter County Sheriff’s Office on January 28 into a report of an elderly man who had been held hostage against his will.

When officers arrived at the home on Gap Creek Road, they met with 84-year-old Olen Pate, who CCSO Investigator Nick Andes described as “visibly shaken” and having blood on his shirt and hands.

Pate told officers he had been assaulted and held against his will by his live-in farm helper, Eric Miller, who at the time was Curbey’s boyfriend. He provided officers with a written statement regarding what had happened at his home. He told officers Miller became upset about an argument with Curbey and being unable to find the keys to a truck kept in the garage.

According to court documents, Pate told officers that Miller became violent.

“Mr. Pate recalled being grabbed, hit, and thrown to the ground,” Andes said. “Mr. Pate further recalled being choked from behind by Mr. Miller’s arms and beaten with a wooden cane until it broke.”

Pate told officers he attempted to escape several times, but Miller stopped him. He said Miller threatened to kill him and burn his house down.

In his statement, Pate told officers Curbey was a witness to the assault by Miller but did not assist him or call 911.

Miller and Curbey were not at the home when officers arrived but were located later that day in Hampton.

“Investigator (Mike) Little arrived on scene and, after advising Ms. Curbey of her rights, interviewed her in the rear of Deputy (Christian) Carrier’s patrol vehicle,” Andes said. “Investigator Little advised me that Ms. Curbey stated that she was at Mr. Pate’s home at the time of the assault and that she could have helped or called 911 but instead helped Mr. Miller escape by driving him away in her vehicle. Ms. Curbey further stated that she was not in fear of Mr. Miller at any time.”

Miller was arrested the same day as Curbey, and officers charged him with especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of Schedule II drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a revoked license.

The charges against Miller were previously bound over to a grand jury, which handed down an indictment against him. He is scheduled to appear in Carter County Criminal Court on August 14.