RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. – Tyler Dale McCurry, found guilty in 2016 of the second-degree murder of five-month-old Lebron Jay’den Reynolds, had his sentence reduced Monday. McCurry’s re-sentencing was brought about by a North Carolina Court of Appeals ruling that a prior conviction had erroneously been used and increased his sentencing level to a higher one than it should have been.
McCurry’s prior conviction was for possession of drug paraphernalia in Cleveland County in 2012. The arrest warrant did not specify what type of drug paraphernalia he possessed. In making an assumption based on McCurry’s other charge regarding meth that the paraphernalia was meth related, this generated a higher level of sentencing. In 2014, possession of marijuana paraphernalia was changed from a Class 1 to a Class 3 misdemeanor. All other drug paraphernalia are still classified as Class 1.
The Court of Appeals agreed with defense attorney Sam Snead that McCurry should have been given the benefit of a doubt. In Superior Court on Monday, Horne stated he had ruled “incorrectly.”
Defense Attorney Snead presented the mitigating fact that McCurry, who had been brought to the RC jail last week for the hearing that was then postponed, requested to be returned to prison for the week delay. McCurry wanted to ensure he kept his prison job.
Consequently, in Rutherford County Superior Court Monday Judge Gregory Horne, who presided over the original trial, reduced McCurry’s sentence to 20 to 25 years with credit for 437 days he has already served. He also ruled that substance abuse counseling be continued.
Assistant District Attorney Ken Suave said the ruling to reduce McCurry’s sentence “was the best they could have hoped for, but the entire situation was disheartening.”
“There are no winners in this at all,” Suave said. “Everyone’s a loser. We felt the early sentence was entirely fair and the judge really had no choice in this case.”
The reduced sentence, 240 months minimum to 300 months maximum active prison time, is the upper limit of structured sentencing.