Pierce found not guilty in ‘09 shooting death

DOVER — A 36-year-old man on Monday was found not guilty of murder in a downtown Dover shooting death occurring 9 1/2 years ago.

Larry J. Pierce was accused in the slaying of Josue Barclay in the first block of South Governors Avenue on April 18, 2009, following a Dover Police investigation and resulting first-degree murder charge.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey J. Clark deemed three key witnesses presented by the state not to be credible based on inconsistent statements from the time of the alleged incident nearly a decade ago to testimony in a five-day trial that concluded last week.

There was also question about a bullet that was found lodged in another nearby residence that the state claimed was not involved in the shooting, according to the court.

Larry J. Pierce

A motive was never established for Mr. Barclay’s death, Judge Clark said, and no eyewitnesses to the shooting.

Following announcement of the not guilty verdict, Mr. Barclay’s mother sobbed for several minutes inside and outside the courtroom, uttering “Oh my God” at one point.

Defense attorney Richard F. Mattoni, who served as co-counsel with Lloyd A. Schmid, declined comment afterward.

Deputy Attorney General Gregory R. Babowal and DAG Lisa Whitelock who prosecuted the case said, “We’re obviously disappointed with the decision. Our sympathies go out to the family of Josue Barclay.

“We felt like we provided sufficient evidence to support a finding of guilty. The court felt otherwise, obviously, as the finder of fact and did not agree with that.”

Mr. Pierce pleaded guilty to a possession of a deadly weapon prohibited by person charge associated with the case, but the court said he wasn’t found to have fired the fatal shot. He earlier declined to plead guilty to a manslaughter charge.

Mr. Pierce continues to be held by the Delaware Department of Correction on other matters.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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