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February 26, 2013

Defense: Victim accidentally shot himself

Man faces assault charge in 2011 incident



Testimony begins

Wendy Richie, Matthew Richie’s mother, was the first prosecution witness to testify Monday. A resident of Lexington, the former teacher now stays at home to care for her son.

She testified that Rearick came to the hospital several times while Richie was being treated. Although Rearick initially told her he didn’t know what happened, she later overheard him tell someone he had been twirling guns “like John Wayne” when Richie was shot.

After lunch, KSP Detective Edwin Botkin took the stand. He was one of the troopers who responded to the shooting.

Baechtold pressed Botkin about why an evidence log wasn’t kept during the investigation. He also asked Botkin if he was aware that the lead investigator, Trooper Toney Allen, received a reprimand from his supervisor about his poor handling of the case.

Botkin said he requested a detective to take over the shooting investigation that night, but the request had been denied by his sergeant. So he, Allen and another trooper handled the investigation.

The guns found at the scene, including the revolver, were returned to Rearick just four days after the shooting, according to Baechtold. Botkin said he did not have knowledge about whether the guns underwent ballistics testing or were dusted for fingerprints or DNA evidence.

Baechtold asked Botkin why he requested a detective to come to the scene.

“We didn’t know what kind of case we had,” Botkin replied, stating there were conflicting stories, and the case was quickly becoming time-consuming.

Botkin also said he thought the incident was going to be a death investigation, noting he’s witnessed people dying before and is familiar with the “signs and symptoms” of a person close to death.

“It appeared (Richie) was going to die,” Botkin said.

The trial will resume this morning at 9 a.m. in Madison Circuit Court. It is expected to last about four days.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at or 624-6694. 

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