|Thirteen witnesses testify against accused murderer|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 29 January 2014 11:17|
The second day of testimony in the murder trial of Cody Rickard included statements from a CSX worker who said he struck the accused in the head with a tool while giving chase, and from a Wood County Sheriff's deputy who described Rickard's erratic behavior after the incident.
Rickard, 26, Woodville, stands accused of murder and two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of Paul Castle, 34, Paintsville, Ky., a CSX worker who was allegedly struck by his vehicle on Oct. 28 at a construction site at the railroad tracks at Bradner Road, near James Street in Bradner.
Rickard also struck two other workers, Luis Knott and James Conley. He is additionally charged with two counts of vehicular assault and two counts of felonious assault.
Prosecutors say Rickard drove around two barricades and into a construction zone at the railroad tracks at the scene, striking a utility pole.
The jury, including two alternates, heard testimony from 13 prosecution witnesses on Tuesday.
CSX worker Mark Palmer, Ironton, joined numerous other witnesses in describing Rickard's almost jubilant attitude after he struck the workers.
Palmer said he heard Rickard yell " 'Yeah,' like he scored a touchdown."
Palmer said Rickard at one point sat down, then jumped up and ran down the railroad tracks, with several CSX workers giving chase.
Palmer was in front of his co-workers and after Rickard stopped twice to throw heavy ballast rocks at the workers, reportedly striking one of them in the wrist, he struck Rickard in the head with a metal tool called a plate hook.
"I wasn't going to let him get away," said Palmer of giving chase.
The incident caused a 1 1/2-inch long gash in Rickard's head, which defense attorney Edward Rhode III displayed photographs of to the jury multiple times.
The defense had been alluding to someone striking Rickard in the head throughout the two days of testimony. They also made mention of a brain injury that Rickard may have sustained in the initial crash.
Witnesses have described Rickard talking about God, Jesus Christ and the devil after the incident and mumbling incoherently.
Matt Ruble, a firefighter/paramedic with the Bradner Fire Department, testified that despite some confusion, Rickard scored nearly perfect on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which tests an individual's conscious state. However, he did act erratically, he said, lunging at the paramedics and "made wild accusations."
Dep. Brian Ruckstuhl, of the Wood County Sheriff's Office, testified that at one point
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Rickard collapsed on the ground, but EMTs said he was feigning the condition, and that Rickard thereafter got to his feet and was laughing and joking.
"He talked about Jesus Christ, the devil, things of that sort," said Ruckstuhl.
"There were times that he was completely fine, and other times that he wasn't," said Ruckstuhl under cross examination.
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