Dover murder trial tied to police firearms expert theft case


DOVER — A former police firearms expert’s own legal issues were central to the separate plight of a 35-year-old man accused of murder in a 2009 Dover shooting Thursday, and a trial date was extended in the case.

Larry J. Pierce is now scheduled for trial on Oct. 9 in Superior Court, pending the resolution of a case against Carl M. Rone, indicted last week for felony theft by false pretense greater than $1,500 and falsifying business records charges for alleged actions during his civilian employment with the Delaware State Police.

The impact of Mr. Rone’s role in the chain of custody of evidence involving Mr. Pierce is in question as the first-degree murder case advances, and both the defense and prosecution indicated more time was needed to resolve the matter in advocating for a fall trial date.

Deputy Attorney General Gregory R. Babowal maintained before Judge Jeffrey J. Clark that Mr. Rone had a constitutional right not to testify in Mr. Pierce’s case if his own criminal charges aren’t resolved, speculating, too, that the evidence chain threshold could perhaps also be met without him. The defense’s ability to potentially subpoena Mr. Rone was also raised.

Larry J. Pierce

Also, Mr. Pierce waived his right to a jury trial and the bench case will be heard by Judge Clark.

Representing the defendant before the Court, attorney Lloyd A. Schmid said he expressed to Mr. Pierce the belief that belief Mr. Rone must be present “to have fair and full opportunity to (explore) how the evidence was handled.”

Before consulting further with his attorneys, including Richard F. Mattoni, Mr. Pierce told the judge “I’ve been ready to come to trial since coming to the state” after extradition from a federal sentence and “my due process rights are being violated.”

Also, Mr. Pierce said, “I’ve got a lot coming at me at one time.”

Mr. Pierce said his current status means he “can’t take programs,” has no adequate library time available and has a lot of restrictions.

Before giving the defendant more time to consult with attorneys, Judge Clark noted that he has four other murder trials scheduled before the end of 2018, but Mr. Pierce’s is the oldest and all effort would be made to schedule it in as timely a manner as possible.

Also, the judge indicated that Mr. Pierce’s time spent held in Delaware would be credited to his ongoing federal time served.

Authorities said Josue Barclay was shot to death on South Governors Avenue on April 18, 2009, Mr. Pierce was indicted on July 5, 2016 after a shell casing was located and allegedly tied to a handgun during a seven-year investigation by Dover Police.

Last month, Mr. Rone’s status was also questioned during the Kent County Superior Court sentencing of Abdul T. White for the first-degree murder of a Milford man at his residence on Aug. 8, 2015.

Mr. White was denied in his attempt to get evidence he claimed was “exculpatory and that the State has refused to produce,” according to Judge Clark in a three-page order on April 5.

Mr. White sought information on Mr. Rone’s “suspension, discipline, and resignation from State employment.”

Judge Clark declined “to speculate as to what post-trial issues Mr. White will raise.”

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