As the trial for a man accused of murder in the August fatal shooting of a man at Combs got underway this week, Judge Alison Wells said she expected the trial to last all of this week.
Harold Hayes, 38, of Busy, was arrested last year for his suspected involvement in the August 2018 fatal shooting of Terry Stidham, 38, also of Busy, that occurred at Elm Shoal Branch in the Combs community.
“During any trial, there are what’s called ‘questions of law’ and ‘questions of fact,’” said Cordell Williams, representing the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, during his opening statements. “It is important to know that during all of this, nothing that Mr. Riley says and nothing I say is evidence.”
Williams explained to the jury that many of the witnesses testifying in the case will “never be citizens of the year,” but jurors must try to analyze the physical evidence and the witness testimonies to draw conclusions.
Attorney Frank Riley, representing Hayes, said that during the course of the trial that the jury members will have to look at the evidence from multiple perspectives.
“What the state wants to prove – they’ve got these bricks and they want to build a brick wall. They want to use those bricks to make the biggest, strongest looking wall they can. They’re going to convince you that the wall is true and solid, but what we need to look at is the other angle,” Riley said. “There was bad information given to the police officers, who then took that and raced to track this information down and never looked anywhere else, and there were a lot of mistakes made because of that.”
Riley said that, while pieces of the physical evidence may match up scientifically, they does not necessarily have to lead up to the conclusion that Hayes is guilty of murder. Riley also discussed the war on drugs, and the role that drugs played in the case.
Both sides began calling witnesses and presenting evidence. Among the evidence presented was witness and neighbors’ statements from the day of the shooting and surveillance footage from various businesses showing Hayes purchasing 9 mm ammunition.
The trial was still ongoing as of presstime Wednesday.