The Richmond Register

Crime

February 26, 2013

Friends, shooting victim’s family say defendant told conflicting stories

Trial in first-degree assault case enters second day

RICHMOND — Friends and family of Matthew Richie took the stand Tuesday, all saying the man accused of shooting him considered Richie his best friend and never showed any animosity toward him.

However, several people testified that Denver Rearick told them different versions of what happened the night of Jan. 22, 2011, in the days following the shooting.

The first-degree assault trial of Rearick, which began Monday, continued in Madison Circuit Court on Tuesday. If convicted of the charge, Rearick faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Smith told the jury Monday during opening statements that Rearick was drunk and wrestling with Richie when he put the gun in Richie’s mouth. The prosecutor is alleging that Rearick’s reckless behavior with the gun led to Richie’s shooting.

However, defense attorney Michael Eubanks told the jury Richie also was behaving recklessly with a gun that night, and he accidentally shot himself.

Friends, family testify

A friend to both Richie and Rearick, Christopher Darnell testified that Rearick told him three different stories about what happened Jan. 22, 2011. Darnell was not at Rearick’s Waco home at the time of the shooting.

Rearick initially said Richie shot himself, Darnell said. But a few days later in a phone conversation, Rearick said he “may or may not have shot my best friend,” Darnell testified.

On the Monday following the shooting, Darnell went to the Rearick home to retrieve some of Richie’s personal belongings. At that time, Rearick allegedly told him that he’d accidentally shot Richie.

Matthew Richie’s roommate at the time, Anthony LoRey, testified he never saw Rearick acting with animosity toward Richie. However, he said he thought it was odd when Rearick told him shortly after the shooting he didn’t know if it was his gun or Richie’s that had gone off.

"You know when you fire a weapon,” LoRey said.

Anthony LoRey’s mother, Delores LoRey, testified Rearick told her at the hospital that Richie had shot himself.

But Richie’s father, Lowell Richie, testified that Rearick said he didn’t know what happened when they spoke, also at the hospital.

"I told him ‘Regardless of what happened, thank you for saving my son,’” Lowell Richie said.

Rearick and two other men at the house at the time of the shooting administered first aid to Richie until paramedics arrived.

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