Prosecutors say that Curtis Vance confessed three times to police to killing anchorwoman Anne Pressly.
It is the major development coming out of a court hearing Tuesday morning in downtown Little Rock, the first time any report of Vance confessing has been made publicly. Vance in court didn't deny it but said police put a gun in his face to make him do it.
What started as a court hearing on Curtis Vance's refusal to take a mental evaluation quickly changed course to a showdown over DNA evidence and confessions.
Several times Vance in court motioned to the judge he wanted to speak up. When he did, he told Pulaski County circuit court judge Chris Piazza he hadn't seen results of DNA testing or any evidence to show his guilt in the case.
That's when deputy prosecutor John Johnson interrupted.
"Mr. Vance is aware that at least three times he's confessed to this crime to the police department," Johnson says.
Vance quickly replied.
"Your honor, that was under extreme pressure," Vance says. "My life was on the line and the police put a gun in my face."
He didn't talk about his confession after the hearing but did talk about evidence.
"I just want justice like everybody else, that's it man. Shouldn't take so long for this DNA to come back,” Vance says. Goins says: "What do you think that DNA is going to show when it does come back?" Vance says: "It's going to show I'm not the suspect." Goins says: "You think you'll be cleared in this crime?" Vance says: "Should be, if there is any such thing as justice I should be." Goins says: "You weren't at Anne Pressly's home on October 20th?" Vance says: "Never."
As for the defense's request to have Vance committed to a state hospital for 30 days, the judge said no. Piazza saying he doesn't think Vance will cooperate with doctors there and he doesn't want any more delays.
Vance's mother, Jacqueline Vance watched the proceedings in the courtroom and says she agrees.
"I mean, I don't even want them to go to trial," she says. "I just want them to go on and find the real murderer and let my baby go."
Anne Pressly's parents, Guy and Patti Cannady, left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
The judge scheduled a July 9th hearing to resolve the issue of whether Vance is fit to proceed in the case. Prosecutors will state in an August 18th hearing whether the plan to pursue the death penalty in the case. Jury trial is set for September 9th, though Vance's attorneys filed a motion late Monday to have the trial begin no earlier than March 1, 2010.
Vance is charged with the capital murder, rape, burglary and theft of property in connection with Pressly's death. DNA also implicates Vance in the rape, burglary and theft of property of a Marianna school teacher from April 2008.