Accused murderer testifies: Denies involvement in 2009 shooting death

DOVER — Choosing to testify against the advice of his attorneys Monday afternoon a 36-year-old man said he was not involved in a downtown Dover shooting death roughly 9 1/2 years ago.

Larry J. Pierce did admit to possessing a firearm that prosecutors claim was fatally discharged into the back of the head of Josue Barclay in what was described as a murder and robbery in the first block of South Governors Avenue on April 18, 2009. He pleaded guilty to possession of a deadly weapon by person prohibited.

Mr. Pierce was arrested within eight days of Mr. Barclay’s death after being located in the backseat of a vehicle being stopped for a traffic violation, according to testimony. He jumped a fence while attempting to flee and the gun was found in the vicinity and eventually allegedly tied to a shell casing at the scene of the shooting.

“I ran because I had a gun,” Mr. Pierce said.

After closing arguments, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey J. Clark said he would issue a ruling on a first-degree murder charge next Monday at 9 a.m.

On the stand, Mr. Pierce said he couldn’t remember when he purchased the firearm, which he said was done when two men pulled up in a vehicle on New Street.

Larry J. Pierce

Also, the defendant said he didn’t know witnesses who testified during the trial and supposedly linked him to the shooting.

Prosecutors Lisa Whitelock and Gregory R. Babowal recounted the evidence brought against Mr. Pierce. They highlighted the witnesses against him and the firearm and shell casing evidence in what was a circumstantial case against the defendant. They described the defendant’s testimony as “self serving.”

Ms. Whitelock said a cell phone with Mr. Pierce’s number was identified by two towers near the shooting scene on the morning of Mr. Barclay’s death, though the defense said the towers covered a 40-mile circumference and were thus irrelevant.

Defense attorney Lloyd A. Schmid, joined by co-counsel Richard F. Mattoni, asserted that witnesses’ inconsistent statements to police and under oath and the work of then Delaware State Police Firearms Carl M. Rone (facing charges in an unrelated case) should be enough to indicate ample doubt in the case. Mr. Schmid questioned the chain of custody involving a shell casing, along with testing of a firearm.

He referred to witness testimony as “oddities” and “lies” and Mr. Rone’s supposed “ineptness” during his DSP tenure as a civilian employee.

 

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