VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A man who told police his superior wanted help committing suicide has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the victim's death.
According to Macie Pridgen with the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney in Virginia Beach, Paul Bricker pled guilty Wednesday morning to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Gerard Curran.
Evidence showed Curran's estranged wife reported to police on July 30, 2009 that Curran was missing. That same day, his vehicle along with personal property was located at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.
On Aug.1, two women reported they saw Curran walking slowly in the park and had appeared depressed and tired.
When police searched the park, they located Curran's body. No weapons or foreign material were located in the area, Pridgen said.
His body was said to be decomposed and was identified through fingerprints. An autopsy found Curran died from a stab wound to the chest that perforated his lung and caused internal bleeding.
The autopsy also led to the discovery of a single, healing stab wound to the chest. On April 26, 2009, Curran reported to Virginia Beach Police that and intruder entered his home and stabbed him. Further investigation into that claim found there had been no intruder and Curran had stabbed himself.
Curran was a chief in the Navy and an ET-2 who worked under him, Paul Bricker, was questioned by NCIS personnel and then later by Virginia Beach Police. During his questioning, he said Curran wanted to commit suicide and make it look like a robbery, so his wife and children would receive government benefits after his death.
Bricker said Curran wanted his help in case he was not successful.
According to Bricker, they met at the park, where Curran told him "Let's get this over with." Curran then wrapped a rubber physical therapy band around his won neck and choked himself until he collapsed.
Bricker waited a few minutes and then stabbed Curran once in the chest. After another few minutes, Bricker took the knife and physical therapy band and left the scene. He told police he stabbed Curran because he had asked him to help him.
Pridgen added Bricker had no benefit, pecuniary or otherwise, for his role in Curran's death.
Bricker will be sentenced on Aug. 6 and faces between one and 10 years in prison.
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