Judge declares mistrial in Atmore murder case
Published 10:38 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2009
By By MaryClaire Foster
special to the standard
An Escambia County jury remained deadlocked Tuesday morning in the murder trial of Atmore resident Terry Riley, forcing Circuit Judge Bert Rice to declare a mistrial.
Riley has been charged with the April 19, 2008, murder of his roommate, Larry Howard.
Carter said a retrial is not definite and would be left up to the district
attorney’s office to determine if it was necessary and that no timeframe is set on when the DA has to decide whether to continue with the case.
Riley remains out on bond.
Howard and Riley had both attended a neighbor’s party the night of the murder and Riley was the last known person to see Howard alive.
During the trial, Riley testified that after leaving the party he was walking home behind Howard when Howard turned in the direction of Riley’s sister and a friend of Howard’s, Alberta Riley’s trailer, and Riley continued to walk toward his own trailer.
Riley testified that after unlocking his front door, he turned and saw
Howard staggering towards the front porch and assumed he was just intoxicated. Riley said Howard stopped at the bottom of the steps and stared at him, which prompted Riley to reach a hand out to Howard.
According to Riley, Howard reached a hand out but then fell.
Riley said he then reached down to try and pick Howard up and noticed blood on Howard. He then ran back to the neighbor’s house whose party they had attended to get help,
According to autopsy reports, Howard died from a single stab wound from a sharp object in the heart. A murder weapon was never recovered.
Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy was unavailable for comment as of press time.