A man suspected of killing 38-year-old Jeremy Lane and 31-year-old Tiata Johnson inside a Riverside apartment on Nov. 13 reportedly hunted down Johnson after she left her home in Danville to avoid him after an incident on Nov. 8 that resulted in his arrest there for disorderly conduct.
Police say Carl Curry, 33, who was on parole for a felony weapons conviction, tracked Johnson to the building where Lane lived at 63 Forest Ave., forced open the front door to the third-floor apartment and gunned down the couple in a bedroom.
“He loved everybody and there wasn’t no one he wouldn’t help,” said Annett Lane of her son, Jeremy, who was an old friend of Johnson’s. “He was trying to do the right thing.”
“I don’t think Jeremy was actually the target. I think whoever he would’ve saw Tiata with he was going to kill,” she said.
On Dec. 9, the Massachusetts State Police announced that Curry had been apprehended at a relative’s house in Hyannis, Massachusetts, by officers from the Massachusetts State Police, the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and Barnstable County, Massachusetts, police.
Riverside police and the Great Lakes Regional Task Force of the U.S. Marshal had gathered evidence following the double murder that Curry might be hiding from authorities with relatives in the Boston area.
Riverside Police Chief Matthew Buckley said detectives had identified Curry as a suspect soon after one of Lane’s relatives called police around 1 p.m. on Nov. 13 to report a possible burglary at Lane’s downtown apartment. The relative had gone to check on Lane after being unable to reach him by phone.
Police responding to 63 Forest Ave. found the front door to Lane’s apartment forced open and discovered both Lane and Johnson fatally shot.
“From the onset of this investigation, the Riverside Police Department was provided with information which showed that this was not a random crime and that the victims were targeted by [Curry],” said Buckley.
Police, said Buckley, used video camera recordings, license plate reading technology and social media posts to identify Curry as a suspect. Riverside police obtained a warrant for Curry’s arrest on Nov. 19 and worked with the U.S Marshal Fugitive Task Force to track him down.
“This cooperative effort and sharing of information between local and federal authorities proved to be crucial in this case,” said Buckley, who singled out Detective James Lazansky as well as Commander Leo Kotor and Deputy Chief Frank Lara, both former detectives, for their efforts in leading the investigation.
Following his arrest, Curry was charged with being a fugitive from justice and is now being held on the Riverside homicide warrant, awaiting extradition to Illinois. It’s unclear when Curry will be formally charged in Cook County.
Barnstable County Sheriff Jim Cummings told the Landmark in an email that Curry remains in custody at the Barnstable County Jail and said Curry’s next court date there is not until Jan. 14, 2022.
Jeremy Lane moved to Riverside earlier this year, according to his mother, because he believed he found a safe place to live.
“He thought he was safe,” said Annett Lane. “He told me he was happy being here.”
Annett Lane told the Landmark that Curry had confronted Johnson at her Danville home with a gun, and that Johnson had taken a photo of him with the weapon. It is not clear whether Lane was referring to a separate incident or the Nov. 8 incident, but if Curry had been in possession of a firearm it would have been a violation of his parole.
Danville police did not respond to a request from the Landmark for information about the Nov. 8 incident at Johnson’s home.
Curry was convicted in 2019 in Illinois for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to six years for that offense and was paroled from the Sheridan Correctional Center on Aug. 16. He has prior convictions for unlawful restraint and drug-related offenses.
“She was crying out for help. I believe the system failed her again,” Annett Lane said of Johnson. “[Curry] was never supposed to have a weapon.”
Curry was released from custody after his arrest in Danville and, fearing for her life, Johnson sought refuge in Riverside.
“She drove to her friend Jeremy Lane’s residence here in Riverside,” said Buckley. “She stayed with Jeremy thinking she would be protected and that Curry would not be able to find her. Unfortunately, he did locate her and her protector, Jeremy Lane.”