Dover officer testifies about firearm at Pierce slaying trial

Larry Pierce

DOVER — Testifying Wednesday afternoon, a Dover Police officer recounted locating a firearm roughly 9 1/2 years ago that authorities claim Larry J. Pierce used to fatally shoot 23-year-old Josue Barclay in the back of the head.

The officer recovered a discarded gun during a vehicle pursuit within eight days of Mr. Barclay’s death on the morning of April 18, 2009 in the first block of South Governor’s Avenue. Mr. Pierce was among three men in the vehicle who were chased down near U.S. 13 and the Dover Mall, the officer said, when two firearms were tossed.

The defendant later pleaded guilty to possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited in the incident, according to testimony, and prosecutors allege that the firearm was tied to a shell casing located at the shooting scene in downtown Dover.

Mr. Pierce, 36, was indicted on a first-degree murder charge and is in the midst of a bench trial before Judge Jeffrey J. Clark in Kent County Superior Court this week.

Police said the chase began when a green Ford Taurus was found to have a suspended registration. The officer testified that Mr. Pierce was a passenger in the vehicle sitting in the back seat.

The gun presented as evidence was found near an area where Mr. Pierce supposedly landed after jumping a fence, the officer said.

Also, the officer testified that he had been with the city police force for two weeks and was accompanied by a field training officer. He couldn’t recall where the FTO was when he secured the weapon” noting the length of time elapsed nearly a decade ago, Though he probably wore gloves, the officer said, he didn’t “have any specific recollection” of that.

After the testimony, defense attorney Lloyd A. Schmid asserted that now-retired Delaware State Police Forensic Firearms Examiner Carl M. Rone should be considered as part of the chain of custody for first receiving and analyzing the weapon afterward, though prosecutors are prepared to present another examiner who reviewed the weapon afterward as well.

Mr. Rone was later arrested on unrelated charges for allegedly falsifying time sheets and is scheduled for his own trial later this month.

Deputy Attorney General Gregory R. Babowal said the state was “confused” about whether the Court expects Mr. Rone to testify.
Judge Clark acknowledged that Mr. Rone “had hands on the evidence” and that made him a link in the chain of custody, but offered prosecution and defense opportunity to submit written stances on the matter.

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