Trial starts for man accused in 2009 Dover shooting death

DOVER — The long-running case of a 36-year-old man charged with murder in a 2009 Dover shooting reached trial stage Tuesday morning, with an emphasis on witness recollections from nearly a decade ago compared to statements made now.

In 2016, Larry J. Pierce was indicted on a first-degree murder count in the shooting death of 23-year-old Josue Barclay on April 18, 2009, in the first block of South Governors Avenue.

Dover Police continued to investigate the case for seven years before collecting enough evidence to warrant a charge.

On Monday, Mr. Pierce declined to take a plea offer admitting to manslaughter, opting for a bench trial before Superior Court Judge Jeffrey J. Clark.

When the trial opened the prosecution pointed to a shell casing found near the shooting scene that was tied to a firearm Mr. Pierce was allegedly seen with earlier in the day. That, along with upcoming witness and expert testimony would provide enough circumstantial evidence to prove the case, Deputy Attorney General Gregory R. Babowal maintained.

Defense Attorney Lloyd A. Schmid referenced regular rounds of gunfire triggered in the downtown Dover area at the time, and spoke of a bullet hole in a nearby residence that was located on the same day Mr. Barclay died, which was inconsistent with the 9mm gun allegedly used in the shooting.

Also, Mr. Schmid asked the Court “to consider the reasons why (witness) statements are different … there will be a lot of that.”

The first witness testified to selling Mr. Pierce a gun for $125 in 2009, though she really didn’t know him and the transaction was conducted between the defendant and another man the witness rode with to a McDonald’s parking lot on Del. 8.

Larry Pierce

The witness routinely answered “I don’t recall” when questioned by defense attorney Richard F. Matoni about statements she made to police around the time of the shooting, and admitted to lying to protect another man who was allegedly involved.

“It’s hard for me to remember what I lied about,” the witness testified, adding that she was living a life of crime at the time, selling guns and drugs while running the streets.

Now, though, the woman said she had put that life behind and was “trying to be honest and true, to clear my plate …” of past misdeeds.

The woman spoke with Dover Police at least four times, according to her testimony, and video of the interviews at times failed to spark her memories of the conversations.

Also, she said, “I thought it was snitching (in 2009), I didn’t want to get involved, I had my own cases, I wanted to protect (another man).”

On Tuesday, the woman said she had nothing to gain by now being truthful and she no longer lived the same lawbreaking style life as 2009.

The statute of limitations had elapsed on admissions to past crimes that might come up, the prosecution confirmed.

While the woman testified she could identify Mr. Pierce as the person who bought the firearm, a police interview at the time indicated she was 85 to 90 percent sure based on the defendant’s eyes.

The prosecution (which included Deputy Attorney General Lisa Whitelock) described the firearm in question as having a pearl colored handle with an image of Marilyn Monroe on it. The witness said she wanted to sell it as quickly as possible because “I didn’t like the way it was so distinctive.”

The late Mr. Barclay’s mother and father attended the trial Tuesday. Proceed

A second woman testified to seeing who she believed to be Mr. Pierce dressed in a black trench coat and black hat walking toward the vehicle she occupied with Mr. Barclay and waving a gun from about 15 to 20 feet away within a few hours of the shooting.

The woman said she knew Mr. Pierce in 2009 from “CR.”

After a dropoff later, the woman said, Mr. Barclay called her with concern and “He knew something wasn’t right.”

Mr. Pierce was arrested within eight days of the shooting, Dover Police said, and tossed a firearm in an attempt to flee during a traffic stop.

The gun was recovered, police said, and developed as evidence in the case, along with the shell casing found at the scene.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment