Cops: Man tried to smother ill dad who later died

July 30, 2014 - 2:35 PM
Father Death Charges

This undated photo provided by the Brecksville police department shows Steven Curtis. Curtis is accused of trying to suffocate his terminally ill father by holding his hand over the man’s nose and mouth at a suburban Cleveland nursing home, police said. Curtis, 58, of Fort Lauderdale, is free on a $50,000 bond after being charged with attempted murder, assault, menacing and disorderly conduct. His father, Roy Curtis, 88, died several hours after the incident that occurred at 12:30 a.m. Monday. (AP Photo/Brecksville Police Department)

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Florida man is accused of trying to suffocate his terminally ill father by holding his hand over the man's nose and mouth at a suburban Cleveland nursing home, police said. The 86-year-old man died a few hours later.

Steven Curtis, 58, of Fort Lauderdale, was charged Monday with attempted murder, assault, menacing and disorderly conduct. He is free on a $50,000 bond.

The Cuyahoga County medical examiner's office has not yet determined how his father, Roy Curtis, died.

Steven Curtis had been going in and out of his father's room at a nursing home in Brecksville, west of Cleveland, for much of the day Sunday, a police report said. He had been drinking tequila and staff members said he appeared to be intoxicated, according to the report. Officers found a nearly empty bottle of tequila in Roy Curtis' room.

Early Monday morning, two staff members told officers, they saw Steven Curtis place his hand over his father's nose and mouth and that the elderly man's breathing already was labored. When a staff member intervened, Steven Curtis began screaming and threw a phone at him, the police report said. Steven Curtis then tried to barricade himself in the room using a phone cord wrapped around the door handle.

Brecksville police officers arrived moments later and found Steven Curtis flailing his arms at the staff member in a hallway, the police report said. Officers took him to the ground and handcuffed him.

A nurse had learned that Steven Curtis had told family members he had a return flight to Florida on Monday afternoon "and this would all be over," the police report said.

Steven Curtis could not be reached for comment. It's unclear whether he has an attorney.