Judge Denies Gary Riley’s Request to Change Guilty Plea in Murder TrialMarch 31st, 2009 by Joe Burgess
Â After having accepted a plea bargain on December 12, which sentenced him to life in prison, Gary Riley had petitioned the Drew County Circuit Court to withdraw his guilty plea based on “deficient performance” by his attorney.
Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson, recently denied that motion without a hearing, based on the merits of the motion.
Posted December 12, 2009
Gary Riley Pleads Guilty for Bobby Hampton Murder–More Information
Gary Riley accepted a guilty plea Thursday, and accepted aÂ sentence ofÂ life in prison, without parole.Â By accepting the “life without” sentence, Riley will not face the possibility of lethal injection and the death penalty.
Mr. Hampton’s widow and brother were present and testified that the agreement was acceptable.
Riley was charged with capital murder and robbery.
Riley was tested to have a I.Q. ofÂ 97, but was diagnosed with a mild impairment, based on years of alcohol use, byÂ a psychiatrist involved in the case.Â RileyÂ spoke on his own behalf when asked to tell Judge Gibson what happened that January day.
Riley told the court, “I shot him in the back”, and added, “I was intending to shoot over his shoulder and scare him.”Â Riley told the court that Hampton owed him $750 and had taken some of his carpentry tools.
Riley also admitted, “I took his billfold.Â It had $7.00 in it. I kept the $7.00, and left.”
Riley kept a 20 guage shotgun in his truck, and he and Hampton were going to look at a couple of perspective carpentry jobs.Â “I took the gun out of the truck and propped it up against the trailer,” he added.Â “I told Bobby we may scare up a rabbit.”
The only noticeable area of confusion in Thursday’s hearing was over the elements of Capital Murder, which include “premeditated and deliberately” caused the death of, or “in the event of an aggravated robbery or the flight from” caused the death of a person.
In Riley’s first description of the events, he said that he meant to shoot over Hampton’s shoulder to scare him, which didn’t qualify as a definition of capital murder.Â Judge Gibson told him that if he was trying to minimize theÂ intent of his actions, that he would need to speak to his attorneys and give a full and accurateÂ explanation of what happened at the trailer on Garnett Road. But that if what he had told the court was correct, then there would need to be a jury trial, as had been scheduled, which would begin on Friday.
When Riley stood before the court after speaking with his attorneys, he gave a more detailed explanation, which the judge described as adequately “providing the court with a factual basis for reckless conduct”, which was required for the plea to be equal to the charge, as required by law.
Riley said that his earlier statement, “was not the way I intended it to sound.”Â Riley continued, “I was very mad and had asked Bobby for the money, and he told me I may never get it.Â I asked him, what if I asked Mrs. Hampton, and he told me if I got the money, then I’d never spend it.”
After the shotgun blast, Riley commented, “when he fell, I grabbed his billfold, thinking I’d get some of it bank, and I left.”
Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen added, “He intended to provoke fear in the man, in an attempt to get his money,” thus making Riley “guilty of aggravated robbery.”
Judge Gibson ruled that, “there are sufficient facts in the record, to which he (Riley) has admitted.Â This court is satisfied beyond any doubt that he is guilty, as charged.”
As the court process came to a close, Judge Gibson pointed out that Riley benefited by avoiding any possibliity of the death penalty,; the prosecutor did not reduce the original charges; and that the family will now be more able to received closure in the loss of Mr. Hampton.
The story below was posted on December 3, 2008
Gary Riley, accused of the January Capital Murder of Bobby Hampton, had a motion for continuance presented in Circuit Court Monday, by his public defender, Steven Porch.
Judge Bynum Gibson instructed the prosecutor’s office to file a response to that motion, which they did.
According to Drew County Circuit Clerk records, Judge Gibson, Tuesday, denied that motion for more time, leaving the Riley’s murder trial set to take later this month.
The history of the case in attatched below.
The story below posted on September 25, 2008.
Gary Riley in Court Monday in Bobby Hampton Murder
Gary Riley, the man charged with the capital murder and aggravated robberyÂ of Bobby Hampton,Â had a hearing in his caseÂ before Drew County Circuit Court Judge Bynum Gibson, earlier this week.
According to 10th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen, Judge BynumGibson allowed the defense an additional 30 days to file documents in reference to issues with the case, that may have been affected by the time consuming process of the mental evaluation.
The defense will also likely seek neurological testing in the trial
The Judge also ordered a release of records from the Arkansas State Hospital.
The case is set to goÂ before a jury in December.
The story below posted on May 28, 2008.
Gary Riley, the man charged with the capital murder of Bobby Hampton,Â attended a hearing in his case in Drew County Circuit Court, Tuesday, for Judge BynumGibsontoÂ rule on several motions dealingÂ with the case.
Latrece Gray and Robby Golden, of the Arkansas Public Defender Commission represented Riley, while Thomas Deen represented the state.Â
Deenpointed out the attorney Steven Porch, who is now withthe local public defenders office (representing Riley) was with the Prosecutor’s office at the beginning of the year, and had signed a “prosecutor’s subpoena” in the case of Bobby Hampton, who was missing at that time.
Since that time, Hampton’s body has been found, Riley has been arrested, and Porch has been hired to head the local public defender’s office.Â Judge Gibson described this as “a non-issue” because it was just a “function of the office” that Porch held at the time.Â Porch will speak with Riley, and verify thatÂ the defendantÂ is still comfortable with Porch representing him.
Robby Golden presented numerous motions on behalf of Riley, which included:
That Riley be allowed to wear street clothes in future court sessions.Â Gibson granted this motion, subject to security issues.
That defense be allowed to receiveÂ transcription of interviews, which was granted.
That “emotional” sounds and commentsÂ in the courtroom be controlled.Â This motion was granted, as much as possible, under the circumstances.
A motion involving the state crime lab, which was agreed to.
Extended time for motions to be presented to the court.Â Judge Gibson agreed that late motions would be accepted “with good cause.”
A request that all responses to motions be documented.Â Judge Gibson told the court that he would accept responses to motions from the attorneysÂ “from the podium, in open court, and for the record” which will be documented by the court recorder.
Motion for discovery, which already must meet “Brady” requirements.Â Deen mentioned that he was aware of an autopsy issue, that has already been provided.
Motion to prevent “overt and covert solicitation of information from the defendant”, which was covered in the last hearing, and was “granted again” by Judge Gibson.
There were motions to provide exculpatory information, and other information that would affect the testimony of a witness.Â Judge Gibson denied these motions as not being specific enough.
Issues pertaining to the “credibility of a witness” should be presented to the defense, such as a plea bargain for a witness, but only Riley is chargedÂ withÂ the crime.
Deen stated that the only witness that may receive any benefit from his office would possibly be Bobby Hampton’s family.Â He commented that “the state would like to make payment to the victim’s family for expenses.”
Golden also presented several other motions as well, with some being granted, and some being denied.
Latrese Gray took the podium,Â also representing Riley, and brought up the issue of Golden’s first motion.Â She pointed out that Judge Gibson had questioned her more about a scheduling conflict in June, than he had Deenabout a similar issue withanupcoming September date.Â It was pointed out that Gibson had accepted bothattorneysÂ conflicts, and re-scheduled both court dates.Â Gray stated that her office, as well as the Attorney General’s office, would want this, and similar issues, brought upÂ in court, so thatÂ these issuesÂ may be eligible to be brought up, in the event of an appeal.Â She also wanted it in the record, in caseÂ Judge Gibson were later asked to recuse himself.Â Judge Gibson pointed out to the courtroom that Ms. Gray was only doing her job well, and that this was not an attack on him, and that he didn’t take it that way.Â
Gray thenÂ requested that Judge Gibson set aside a May 5 deadline as to whether an insanity or mental retardation issue would be raised.Â DeenÂ called this “an affirmative defense.”Â Gray would notÂ comment on the likelyhood that thisÂ issue would be used in court, onlyÂ saying that it mayÂ if Â ”an issue would ariseÂ pertaining to Mr. Riley’s I.Q.”Â
Gray described the choice to postpone Riley’s possible I.Q. test until the end of other tests as an “economical” decision.Â This logic didn’t seem to agree with normal operating concepts, but rather was taken as a reason to ask for another continuance later, if the test doesn’t get completed before the scheduled court date.
Gray told the court that she doesn’t intend to use the state hospital for the test, but rather has chosen someone with a government contract, that will be entering the field of private practice in July.
Deen told the court that she just “doesn’t want to create a witness for the state,” implying that such a test would work more in the prosecution’s favor than that defense’s.
GrayÂ said that the statute calls for such a test to be done “as soon as practicable”, not as soon a possible.Â She suggested that she may request a test in September, which will likely leave the prosecution no time to have another test done.
She also presented several motions that dealt with such issues as to the death penalty being cruel and unusual punishment, that the capitol murder statute overlaps with the first degree murder, and a motion to quash based on the proceedings being unconstitutional, which were basically denied.
TheÂ definition ofÂ the “value of human life” was answered by DeenÂ sayingÂ thatÂ Riley “lures Hampton out there with the pretense of repairing a building, shoots him in the back with a shotgun, kills him, and robs him”.Â Judge Gibson granted this motion, and said that the “value of human life” had been explained.
Gray’s other motionsÂ dealtÂ with issuesÂ such as prosecutorial conduct,Â deathqualifiedjury, preventingÂ the jury’s disbursal and exposure to the victim’s family, request for a cross-section ofÂ communityÂ for the jury, and a request to allow opening statements prior to the penalty phase, as Â well as issues dealing with the legalities of “mitigating” and “aggravating” in reference to motions and prosecutorial issues.
Overall the issue of Riley’s I.Q. test, or lack thereof, seemed to be the most controversial issue of the day, which Deen described as “laying behind the log.”
The next day for legal proceedings in this case will be in mid-July.
Â The following story posted on April 21, 2008.
Gary Riley in Court Today in Bobby Hampton MurderÂ
Gary Riley, the man charged with the capital murder of Bobby Hampton,Â was present in the Drew County Circuit Court today for Judge BynumGibsonto settle some issues with the case.
Latrece Gray represented Riley from the public defenders commission, while Thomas Deen represented the state.
Early in the hearing, both attorneys had to be “death qualified”.Â
Other items brought before the court included that information that the state crime lab has not provided the “final autopsy report”, although they have sent in a “preliminary” version.
All law enforcement officers were instructed to provide all “field notes” from the case to the prosecuting attorney’s office, who will forward them to the defense counsel.
The defense has 14 days to file documentation asÂ toÂ whether they will intend to use “insanity” or “IQ issues” as aÂ part of their case.Â Â Â
The defense wanted “work of experts” (testimony of expert witnesses) protected, Judge Gibson ruled that verbalÂ comments are protected, but written or documented details may be disputed.
The defense also wanted a motion passed which would limit contact between the State and the defendant, while theÂ State claimed that the wording Ms. Gray chose, “wouldn’t let us ask him if he wanted Sanka to drink with lunch,” according to Mr. Deen.Â Judge Gibson instructed Deen to re-write the motion.
Both sides were instructed to dictate whatever witness notes that they planned to use, and provided copies to the other side within 14 days.
The omnibus hearing will take place late in May, the pre-trial hearing andÂ hearing for motions will be heard in July.Â The actually court date will be set in late September.
The following story posted on February, 19, 2008
TuesdayÂ morning, Gary Riley, who is charged withcapitolmurder in the death of Bobby Hampton. Pled “not guilty” to the charges against him, in the Drew County Circuit Court.
The “plea and arraignment hearing” is an opportunity for a plea of “guilty or not guilty”, although there are other plea options.
Riey is represented by the public defenders office, including attorneys Steven Porch and Gary Potts. The state was represented by Zach Vaughn.
Rileysattorneys were meeting with him after the hearing to “see where he stands”.
They also notified the court that if following a “mental evaluation”, someone is found to be “below on on certain level”, then “the death penalty is obsolete”
Published February 15, 2008
Rev. Bobby Lee Hampton, 54 of Monticello, AR,Â was a native of Bradley County, but a resident of Monticello for the past 31 years, a building contractor and a member of Mt. PeliumAMEChurch. He was preceded in death by his father, John Henry Hampton, and three brothers, Johnnie M. Green, Henry L. Hampton & Johnny Ray Hampton.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Rev. Thelma Hampton, one son, Jason, wife Stephanie Williams of Little Rock, AR, one daughter, April, husband Rob Kindell of Bellvue, IL, his mother, Annie Hampton of Warren, AR, five brothers: Otis Hampton of Chicago, IL, Gerald & John B. Hampton both of St. Louis, MO, Rev. Eddie, wife Francis Hampton & Freddie, wife Ester Hampton all of Warren, AR, five sisters: Sadie Harding, Ruthie, husband Donald Childs, Judy Hampton & Mary Hampton all of Warren, AR &
Vera Barrow of Chicago, IL, and two grandchildren.
Funeral services are Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 11:00 AM at Pilgrim Rest AME Church with Presiding Elder J.R. Hooper, officiating. Pallbearers are Earnest Green, Clyde Hemphill, Leonard Purifoy, Theodore Hampton, Kenneth Newton & Earnest Newton. Honorary pallbearers are his brothers and Herman Hampton. Burial in Mt. Pelium Cemetery under the directions of Cromwell Funeral Home of Hamburg, AR.
In an effort to keep the segments ofÂ theÂ BobbyÂ Hampton Story, MonticelloLive hasÂ ”stacked” theÂ individual reports together
This storyÂ includes a report of the testimony ofÂ an investigator with the Arkansas State Police, who describes the scene and settingÂ as it relates to the murder of BobbyÂ Hampton.
Although the descriptions are not extremely graphic in nature, they doÂ coverÂ moreÂ detail than MonticelloLive usuallyÂ covers inÂ it’s dailyÂ stories.Â Reader’s disgression is advised.
Just after 4 p.m. Monday,Â February 11, 2008, Drew County Circuit Court was called into session, with theÂ Honorable Judge Bynum Gibson, presiding.
Appearing before the court today was the case of Gary Riley, ofÂ Monticello,Â whoÂ isÂ charged with the death of Bobby Hampton, of Monticello, who disappeared from his home on January 8.
First on the agenda beforeÂ JudgeÂ Gibson,Â was to determineÂ ”probable cause” to arrest Riley.
Arkansas State Police Investigator, Roger McLemore,Â who has been involved in the case since January 17,Â testified on behalf of the state.
McLemore told the court, Â that Bobby Hampton’s body was found behind a mobile home, being used as a deer campÂ on Garnett Road, 10.5 miles north of Monticello, Saturday morning.
Mr. Hampton had injuries to his back, that appeared to have been caused by a shotgun blast.Â The scene led investigators to determine that Hampton had been measuring a window, because lying on the ground in the same area, were a carpenter’s square and a tape measure.
Lying under Mr. Hampton’s body was an envelope, that had Riley’s name on it.
WhenÂ Riley made a statement to McLemore, he told the investigator that he and Hampton had been partners, and that Hampton had taken some of his tools.Â Â Riley alsoÂ said that he had loaned Hampton $750, and whenÂ Riley asked for it back, HamptonÂ declined to re-pay him.
Court testimony showed thatÂ Riley was carrying a 20 gauge, double-barrel shotgun in his truck.
AfterÂ killingÂ Mr.Â Hampton, the state told the court that Riley removed the wallet from Mr. Hampton’s pocket, along with it’s contents ($7).
Riley then drove a short way down the road, and threwÂ the billfold away.
After making his statement admitting to the killing of Hampton, Riley took McLemore back to the area, and even showed the investigator where the billfold was thrown away, and still remained.
Judge Gibson asked if Riley’s story had changed during the investigation, to which McLemore answered that it had.
Judge GibsonÂ agreed that there was adequate evidence to find probable cause for the arrest ofÂ Gary Riley.Â
During the “first appearance” portion of the hearing, Judge Gibson explained Riley’s rights to him and appointed a team of public defenders to represent him.Â His attorneys include Bing Colvin, Steven Porch, and Gary Potts.Â
Judge Gibson explained that the Capitol Murder charge carries a sentence of the “death penalty” or “life without parole.”
Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen told the court that Riley wasn’t eligible to bond out, because of the “aggravating circumstances” involved in the commission of the murder and robbery.
Deenalsotold the Judge that the case met the qualifications of a death penalty case, and that the prosecution was pursuing that as an option.
Judge Gibson agreed that Riley is not eligible to bond out, and set his plea and arraignment hearing date to take place next week.
The information below was posted on MonticelloLive just before Gary Riley’s Court hearing to determine “probable cause” and “first appearance”.
The body of Bobby Hampton, the Monticello man whoÂ disappeared from his home over a month ago,Â was found, Saturday, north of Monticello, near Garnett Road.
Gary Riley, age 51, of Monticello, a former co-worker and friend of Mr. Hampton, has been arrested and charged with capital murder, aggravated robbery, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The Arkansas State Police served as the arresting agency, with the full cooperation of the Drew County Sheriff’s Dept. and the Monticello Police Dept.
Riley has worked in the field of construction and sub-contracting.
Riley is scheduled to appear in court for his “first appearance hearing” late this afternoon.
MonticelloLive will be there, and will post an updated report, soon after the hearing.
Check back on MonticelloLive for details, as they become available, including the results of Riley’s hearing.
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