Woodville man gets 29 years to life in CSX death PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK, Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 16:21
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Cody Rickard leaves court Thursday. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Cody Rickard will be spending the next 29 years to life in prison.
The 26-year-old Woodville man received the sentence after a jury deliberated Thursday for less than three hours.
“There is no reason to explain the destruction to these man and their loved ones,” said Judge Alan Mayberry in pronouncing sentence.
Rickard was charged with murder and two counts of vehicular homicide in the death of Paul Castle, 34, Paintsville, Ky. Castle died in November, weeks after being struck by the 2009 white Dodge Charger Rickard was driving. He and two other men, Jim Conley and Lewis Knott, were struck as the result of Rickard driving through a CSX construction zone just outside of Bradner on Oct. 28. Rickard was additionally charged with two counts each of vehicular assault and felonious assault.
Rickard drove around two sets of barricades and into the construction zone, and reportedly acted erratically after the incident. Testimony offered at trial indicated Rickard was in a jubilant state afterwards, and stated that he should have killed all of the workers at the scene. He later reportedly made statements about God and the devil.
Both Conley and Knott were seriously injured in the incident and hospitalized. Neither has been able to return to work.
The defense argued Rickard had sustained two head injuries – one in the crash and one later when a pursuing CSX worker struck him in the head with a tool after a fleeing Rickard threw large stones at him – thus explaining the erratic behavior. The defence also argued that the placing of the ‘Road Closed’ barricades leading to the site was inadequate.
The jury received the case just after 11 a.m. Thursday following three days of testimony. Prosecutors called more than 26 witnesses; defense attorney Edward Rhode III called only one rebuttal witness in the case. He indicated during his opening statement that he would call Rickard to testify, but said in his closing argument he sensed during the trial the jury had heard enough to make a decision.
Jurors returned a verdict of guilty on all seven counts after just under three hours of deliberation.
Shortly after the verdict was read, Conley said that he was “happy that (Rickard) got what he deserved.”
“We beg the court’s mercy,” said Rhode to Mayberry, in recommending a sentence.
Rickard, in the only statement that he made in court throughout he proceeding, said “I didn’t mean for anybody to be hurt, ever. I’d like to apologize to the whole family.”
Conley and Knott both spoke to the court prior to sentencing.
Conley said that the mental injuries inflicted by the incident will take a long time to heal.
“I think that he should at least get the maximum penalty allowed by law,” he said.
“I’m going to have to figure out a way to get over it,” said Knott.
The court also heard prepared statements by Castle’s family members, read by court staff. The statements elicited weeping from the side of the gallery where family and friends of the victims were seated.
“We will suffer the loss of someone that was so loved,” read a statement from a woman identified as Castle’s aunt.
“His mom and dad are waiting for that daily phone call.”
The statement of Castle’s father, James M. Castle, said “Mr. Rickard has not only destroyed Paul’s life, he has destroyed his family’s life.” He noted that Paul’s twin brother has been so distraught that he has slept in his brother’s room every night since his death.
Sentences were specifically imposed in the murder and felonious assault counts. The murder count held a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life, while the felonious assault cases carried sentences of seven years each, to be served concurrently.
All told, Rickard is to spend at least 29 years in prison before the possibility of parole.
After the verdict, Rickard, in shackles, could be seen to lean on the defense table, his head resting on it. He was immediately rendered into custody after sentencing.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 08:59
 

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