Trial delayed for three accused in man’s beating death
HUNTINGTON - A murder trial scheduled to begin this week for three defendants accused of beating to death a man along the railroad tracks in Huntington last year has been delayed at the request of a defense attorney.
Virginia Louise Curry, 27, and Michael Ray Hughes, 51, both of Huntington, and Willie David Layne, 24, of Greenup, Kentucky, were each charged with a count of murder and conspiracy in the beating death of Ricky Allen Roach last year.
While the three were slated to go to trial this week, Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard agreed the trial should be delayed for Hughes to receive a mental evaluation before the trial. Defense Attorney Abe Saad also said there was evidence found at the scene that needs to be tested prior to the trial.
Huntington police Detective Steve Fitz said a fight started between Layne and Roach after Roach allegedly made a derogatory sexual statement about Curry while the three were drinking.
Roach was attacked by the trio, who was drinking beer between alleged assaults, in different configurations at least three times that evening as he lay unconscious behind a local video parlor, Fitz said. Hughes and Layne indicated Curry joined them on at least one occasion and kicked Roach in the head behind a building in the 100 block of 7th Avenue.
The three defendants were implicated after CSX police indicated they had cited the group for trespassing on the railroad right of way the evening before.
Fitz drove around the neighborhood successfully seeking Curry, who gave the location of Hughes. Both were taken to police headquarters for questioning. Huntington detective Chris Sperry later found Layne in downtown Huntington.
Howard oversaw Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell’s docket Monday after the judge was appointed to serve as an interim West Virginia Supreme Court Justice.
All three defendants remained housed at Western Regional Jail in Barboursville.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.