Curley James Waters was a well-liked man around Boynton Beach, Florida, back in the 1990s. He was in the military for 11 years before leaving the service to take care of his mother when she took sick.
That was just like the 36-year-old – generous to a fault and always willing to help others. Those admirable qualities are what may have got Waters killed.
Waters usually carried a green gym bag as he made his way around the neighborhood visiting friends and running errands. One Friday in October 1995, Waters was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant who stabbed him nine times and took the contents of the bag, which amounted to $21, some food and assorted personal belongings.
Long arrest record
Police said a 33-year-old drifter named Dwight Mouzon was responsible. Mouzon had an arrest record dating back to 1982, including one collar for robbery. He lived in Orlando and Tallahassee before moving to South Florida.
Witnesses said they saw Mouzon with the gym bag and wiping a knife clean with papers that were inside the bag. He confessed to the crime when confronted by police, admitting that he used the stolen money to buy crack cocaine and sold some of the food. Mouzon was charged with first-degree murder.
At trial, Mouzon’s defense attorney argued that the drifter was intoxicated and acting in self-defense. Mouzon also claimed that Waters made repeated unwanted sexual advances toward him and refused to stop after being asked to do so.
Life in prison
The jury wasn’t buying it. They deliberated about three hours before convicting Mouzon of first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon. The same jury reconvened at a later date to recommend that Mouzon be sentenced to life in prison. The prosecution wanted to send him to the electric chair.
The judge went along with the jury’s recommendation and sentenced the drifter to life without the possibility of parole.
According to the victim’s sister, Pamela Smith, “He was just so free-hearted with everybody. That’s what caused this. He would give you everything you wanted. That’s just the way he was. There’s going to be a void in a lot of lives.”