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Telltale tape: Laughing Curry admits hitting Raney

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RUSTY WELLER
Ellis County Press Managing Editor

A pickup truck is discovered nose down in a muddy ditch along southbound I-35 after midnight. The badge and ID for Reserve Deputy Constable Steven Howard Raney are in the cab, but Raney is missing.

That scene sets off a series of events resulting in a tape recording, which reportedly is part of an ongoing FBI investigation. A copy of the tape was offered to the Ellis County Press. Two excerpts from the tape are included in this article. Curry's comments involving the alledged assault on Raney, edited only to remove offensive expletives, may be heard online at http://www.EllisCountyPress.com.

Keith Ramsey made the tape while having a July 1996, conversation with Ellis County Constable Perry 'Bubba' Curry, who did not know he was being recorded. The two talked through driver's windows while their patrol cars were parked side by side.

Keith and Chief Deputy Charles Sullins later offered the tape to Ellis County District Attorney Joe Grubbs, who refused to accept it and now doesn't remember the offer. Grubbs also told the Ellis County Press he was not aware of any FBI investigation and did not remember his office providing any files.

Here's more information to provide a backdrop for excerpts from the tape:

Raney's deserted vehicle set off a manhunt that freezing night as the thermometer plunged into the 20s. Admittedly suffering from cocaine-induced psychosis, Raney wandered off through muddy creek bottoms without a coat.

Just as the search added a helicopter, it abruptly ended when Raney finally found his way to a convenience store and called 9-1-1.

When police officers hurried to the store, they found a muddy Raney, who wasn't making any sense. Partner Rodney Ramsey drove Raney back to his pickup and left him sitting in Rodney's Corvette.

Constable Curry then got into Rodney's car and allegedly committed a possible civil rights violation while talking with Raney in the dark. Rodney then drove Raney home. Curry visited Raney's home later that night.

Raney has admitted to charges of illegally removing cocaine from a drug bust, using it that evening and wrecking his pickup. He was given a 10-year suspended sentence and later pardoned by Gov. George W. Bush.

The tape makes it clear Keith meant Raney when he said to Curry: 'I'd just like to have seen that (expletive) when you hit him that night.'

Curry laughed for four seconds.

'You knocked the (expletive) out of him?' Ramsey asked.

'Oh, son,' Curry replied with a chuckle, 'I put him against the window of that Corvette of Rodney's.'

'No s—?' Keith asked.

'No s—!' Curry answered.

'From this position,' Curry said, reportedly holding up a hand as if pressing Raney's head to the glass.

'POW!' Curry said, reportedly hitting his steering wheel with his fist, 'like that.'

'Sideswiped,' Keith interjected.

'Up against the window,' Perry said again, hardly able to continue for laughing. 'And I said, ‘You son of a b——, I'll talk to you in the morning.'

'I got out, and Rodney said, ‘I'm gonna take him home; he's scared.' And I said okay. And I went from there to his house ‘cause I knew something wasn't right.'

The visit of Curry and Matt Boyden, then a Waxahachie police officer, to Raney's house also was covered during the taped conversation with Keith.

'Raney said, ‘Come out to the garage, I got to tell you something,' Curry said to Keith. 'He told us when he got those two kilos the other day. And he said, ‘Rodney cut it,' and I said, ‘Yeah.'

'He said, ‘I got some of it, and Rodney got some of it.' And I said, ‘What?' And he said, ‘I got some of it, and Rodney got some of it.'

'And I said not to say another (expletive) word. I don't want to hear it,' Curry said.

'Was he still (under cocaine influence) then?' Keith asked.

'I told him, ‘I don't want to hear nothing. We're going to take you down to the police department at Waxahachie, and you give us a non-voluntary (sic) statement,'' Curry said.

'No problem,' Keith commented. 'He wasn't under arrest.'

'He got in the (expletive) car, and we took him down there and read him his rights,' Curry said to Keith on the recording.

'Told him he could stop any time he wanted to; he didn't have to tell us s—, that he could have an attorney present,' Curry continued. 'And he (clearly meaning Raney) said, ‘Nah, I want to get it over with,'

'We got there at 2 o'clock in the morning,' Curry said. 'At 6:30 in the morning we were through with his statement.'

'(Expletive,) what did the (expletive) do, write a book?' Keith asked.

'Almost,' Curry said, 'almost.'

Charges against Rodney Ramsey stemming from Raney's testimony still have not been resolved.

Since the Ellis County Press last reported on the FBI investigation in its Aug. 17 edition, an agent, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed the case continues.

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