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Trial date reset for both suspects in Huntington beating death case

November 11, 2018

HUNTINGTON — A trial date has been reset for two men charged with beating to death a third man along the railroad tracks near 1st Street in Huntington last year.

Michael Ray Hughes, 52, and Willie David Layne, 25, are charged with murder in the July 7, 2017, beating death of Ricky Allen Roach, who was found by a passer-by about 5 a.m. the same day behind a building in the 100 block of 7th Avenue, near the 1st Street underpass and the railroad tracks, according to Huntington Police Detective Steve Fitz.

Their co-defendant, Virginia Louise Curry, 28, pleaded guilty to malicious wounding in October, stating she kicked the victim one time, and is expected to testify against her co-defendants at their trial.

The men had been slated to go to trial earlier this year, but the trial was delayed after Hughes underwent a mental evaluation. He has since been ruled competent to stand trial.

Upon hearing the results of the evaluation Thursday, Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell set a Feb. 5, 2019, trial date for the two men.

Fitz said the police determined a confrontation 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 were drinking beer between alleged assaults, in different configurations at least three times that evening as he lay unconscious, Fitz said. Hughes and Layne indicated Curry joined them on at least one occasion and kicked Roach in the head.

After the alleged beating, a Huntington police officer was at a local grocery store when he was approached about a possible man down nearby and shortly after found Roach dead.

Based on the CSX police information, 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.

Layne is represented by Abe Saad, while Jack Dolance represents Hughes.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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