Beating death trial set for Tuesday start

February 27, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Jury selection and opening arguments are expected to start Tuesday, Feb. 26, in a Huntington murder trial against a pair accused of beating a man and leaving him to die near the 1st Street railroad tracks in 2017.

Michael Ray Hughes, 52, and Willie David Layne, 25, are charged with murder in the July 7, 2017, beating death of Ricky Allen Roach. Roach was found by a passerby 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.

Jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell’s courtroom at the Cabell County Courthouse.

The trial is expected to be highlighted by testimony from Hughes’ and Layne’s co-defendant, Virginia Louise Curry, 28, who pleaded guilty to malicious wounding in October and admitted she kicked the victim at least once.

Fitz previously said police determined a confrontation had 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.

Officers worked with CSX police and found the group of defendants and victim had been cited for trespassing prior to the attack.

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.

The group was charged after being questioned by police.

The trial had previously been delayed several times as attorneys in the case waited for competency examinations to be conducted.

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