A probationer accused of attacking several people with rocks in La Quinta, including two sheriff’s deputies — before a deputy shot him — re-entered not guilty pleas Wednesday to attempted murder and other felony charges.
Christopher Curci, 25, of La Quinta is charged with three counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and one count each of burglary and criminal threats stemming from the alleged events on Jan. 16, 2019.
In a preliminary hearing earlier this month at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Otis Sterling ruled that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence for Curci to proceed to trial.
Riverside County sheriff’s Investigator Jason Trudeau testified during the hearing that deputies were sent on Jan. 16, 2019, to a home in the 77300 block of Avenida Montezuma regarding a burglary and vandalism incident reported earlier that day.
In a recorded interview involving Trudeau and Curci played during the hearing, Curci appears to admit to breaking into the house earlier that day as “payback” for the homeowner’s family allegedly previously burglarizing his home.
“I went over there to confront him, and maybe even beat him up,” Curci says in the recording.
Curci allegedly broke a few windows, a PS4 gaming system and a television before departing and then returning to the home later in the day when the sheriff’s deputies were on scene, which is when the alleged assaults happened.
After returning to the home, Curci allegedly hit two men with rocks. He contended in the interview with Trudeau that he only intended to hit one of the men, and that the other, identified only as an elderly man by Curci, was mistakenly caught in the crossfire.
Prosecutors allege Curci then began throwing rocks at the deputies, although in the recorded interview, Curci contended he was aiming for someone near the deputies.
“I had no intent on harming them,” Curci said of the deputies.
Curci allegedly ignored commands to stop throwing the rocks, and continued walking towards the deputies, which is when he was shot twice in the stomach area.
Judge Emily Benjamini last year ruled Curci was mentally competent to stand trial in the case, following a request by Curci’s defense attorney that he undergo a mental health evaluation.
Curci was serving a three-year probation term at the time of his arrest stemming from a misdemeanor resisting arrest conviction from 2017, court records show.
Curci remains in custody at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta on $1 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court for a trial-readiness conference on Oct. 19.
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