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February 24, 2013

First-degree assault trial starts today

Defendant, victim are Iraq War veterans

RICHMOND —

A Madison County jury will be asked this week to determine whether a 2011 shooting was the result of an accident, recklessness or an intentional aggressive act.

The trial of Iraq War veteran Denver Rearick, 29, is scheduled to start today at 9 a.m. in Madison Circuit Court. If convicted of first-degree assault, he faces a possible sentenced of 10 to 20 years in prison.

Rearick is accused of shooting fellow Army veteran Matthew C. Richie in the face Jan. 22, 2011, at a Waco Loop home. The Kentucky State Police initially reported both men were intoxicated and “twirling” guns when Rearick’s .45 caliber-pistol accidentally fired.

Seven months later, however, the evidence collected in the case was presented to a Madison grand jury, which indicted Rearick on a charge of first-degree assault.

An investigating KSP trooper said at the time of Rearick’s arrest in June 2011 that the man’s behavior was “reckless.”

However, the victim’s mother, Wendy Richie, believes the shooting was intentional, saying Rearick’s story about twirling guns was a “cover-up from the beginning.”

Matthew Richie nearly died and has faced serious hurdles to his recovery, which has included learning to walk, talk and eat again, his mother said.

Wendy Richie said her son remembers everything that happened that night and claims Rearick was acting aggressively toward him and had pulled a gun on him several times.

Rearick and Richie both served in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) based in Fort Campbell. Both men served a tour of duty in Iraq together, Wendy Richie said.

Richie and his parents have filed a civil suit against Rearick and his parents, who are the owners of the residence where the shooting occurred. The lawsuit alleges negligence and seeks compensation for Richie’s medical bills, pain and suffering and attorney fees.

Rearick’s attorney, Michael Eubanks, said Thursday that one of his main defenses at trial will be that the KSP investigation was seriously flawed.

KSP Detective Toney Allen was questioned during a July hearing about some interview tapes from the investigation that had not been turned over to the defense. Allen admitted he had not been able to find the tapes, and he also did not know if gunshot residue tests had been performed.

“That’s very concerning to me that (the evidence) is missing,” Logue said at the hearing. However, she did not grant Eubank’s motion after the hearing to dismiss the case.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@

richmondregister.com

or 624-6694.

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