Woman pleads guilty in railroad track murder case

October 6, 2018

Virginia Louise Curry, 28, right, leaves with her attorney Owen Reynolds in Cabell County Circuit Court Thursday after she pleaded guilty for her role in the 2017 beating death of Ricky Allen Roach.

HUNTINGTON — A woman charged with murder Thursday admitted her guilt in a 2017 beating death and agreed to testify against her co-defendants as part of a plea agreement that released her from jail.

Virginia Louise Curry, 28, pleaded guilty to malicious wounding before Senior Status Judge Dan O’Hanlon in Cabell Circuit Court.

The victim in the case, Ricky Allen Roach, had been found by a passer-by about 5 a.m. July 7, 2017, 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.

Curry, Michael Ray Hughes, 52, and Willie David Layne, 24, were implicated by CSX police, who issued several citations to the group at the same location the night before Roach was found.

“I kicked him one time,” Curry said as her confession.

As part of the plea, she was released to home confinement Thursday and she has agreed to testify against her two co-defendants at their future trial. The plea could be reversed if she does not cooperate at trial, according to assistant prosecutor Joe Fincham.

Curry faces a two-to 10-year prison sentence and is set for sentencing Nov. 1, after her co-defendants’ trial.

Her co-defendants are still waiting for a trial date to be set due to delays as defense attorney Jack Dolance waits for a psychological evaluation to be returned for Hughes. Layne’s attorney, Abe Saad, said he believes a plea agreement has also been reached with prosecution for his client.

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. The other two defendants allegedly helped beat Roach on at least two other occasions throughout the night, Fitz said.

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.

Fitz said an alleged sexual comment made by Roach had angered both male defendants and Layne confronted Roach about it. The three allegedly said Curry had a history with Roach, including at least one instance where he allegedly put his hand under her shirt while she slept.

Roach was attacked by the trio, who were drinking beer in 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.

Hughes and Layne remain housed at Western Regional Jail in Barboursville pending their trial.

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

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