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A jury trial was set on Monday for Myra Fay Terry, who allegedly helped coverup a murder and helped the killer temporarily evade law enforcement.
Terry, 54, of Hot Springs Village faces charges of hindering apprehension, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence in the Oct. 8, 2010 death of Joe Lee "Joey" Richards Jr. of Benton. As of press time, Terry remains in the Saline County jail and is expected to have a jury trial on May 22-23 in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Gary Arnold.
Court documents do not specify Terry's alleged role in the murder of Joey Richards, but it said that she is an ex-girlfriend. Benton police began a missing case for Joey Richards on Oct. 20, 2010 after his father reported him not returning home, nor contacting any family members for 12 days. Yet, Joe Lee Richards Sr. said his son's truck was found eleven days prior to making the report parked in front of the family's shop door in a spot that Joey Richards "normally did not park." The elder Richards also found his son's wallet, cell phone, and laptop computer inside the vehicle.
During the investigation, according to court records, Terry told detectives that she was with Marissa Wright and Joey Richards at Wright's home in Traskwood on the night the elder Richards said he last saw his son. She said Wright and Joey Richards argued about money and that Joey Richards left the home around midnight.
Wright was also interviewed by detectives in 2010 and claimed that Joey Richards was at her home, but that he left around 1:30 a.m. the following morning (Oct. 9, 2010). After a year of following leads, numerous law enforcement officials served a warrant at Wright's home on Oct. 5, 2011 and discovered not only Joey Richard's body, but also the body of Randall Craig Anderson of Mabelvale. Joey Richards body was found under a pile of blocks near the back door of the home, while Anderson was discovered buried underneath a koi pond in the back yard.
Fifty-year-old Wright faces two counts of capital murder, kidnapping and the death penalty. Wright admitted to the murders to numerous law enforcement officials and in a report suicide note, but her defense attorneys are pushing for not only a trial, but for audio confessions and the suicide note with confession to be suppressed from a jury. Main defense attorney Pat Aydelott, also previously asked Arnold to step aside as a trial judge, and remarked on several occasions that prosecution team of Rebecca Bush and Andy Gill should be witnesses rather than representing the state because they were at the crime scene on the day the two bodies were found buried in the backyard of Wright's home. Aydelott was unsuccessful in removing Arnold as presiding judge, and there has been no official remark from Arnold concerning removal of Bush and Gill. However, the defense was successful in obtaining a gag order on law enforcement and attorneys in the case.
The defense will file another request to suppress evidence by May 10 and the state will then respond by May 21. After Arnold rules on the motion to suppress evidence, trial dates for Wright will then be set, which is expected to be three weeks in either October or November.
Though Wright admitted to "intentionally" killing Anderson, she also told sheriff detectives on Oct. 8, 2011 that she shot Joey Richards, but meant "to shoot him in the butt." She said killing Joey Richards was "an accident." However, before Wright and Terry's arrest, Benton police were investigating Joey Richards disappearance. Benton detectives received an anonymous phone call and interviewed two people, with all saying that they were at Wright's home on Oct. 8, 2010 cooking methamphetamine in a bathroom when Joey Richards was shot.
They said Wright and Terry were also there.
One witness said that at some point in the night, Joey Richards barged into the bathroom and started fighting. Two "pop" sounds were heard and Joey Richards said "she shot me."
The witness said Wright was holding a pistol and that she said "I had to do something to get you to calm down."
Court records also said the second witness saw Joey Richards storm into bedroom next to the bathroom were the meth cook was taking place. The witness said Joey Richards had picked Wright up and threw her on the bed, before he tackled the witness to the floor. The witness said when Joey Richards was on top of him, he heard a "pop" and Joey Richards rolled on his side and said "She shot me."
Both the witnesses were reportedly told to leave the home, and when one witness couldn't find his vehicle keys, he said Wright told them to drive her Jeep. One witness recalled seeing Joey Richards sitting against a bathtub still speaking before running out of the home.
One witness reportedly told detectives that Wright and Terry later drove to his home to pick up the Jeep, that Wright said she drove Joey Richards truck to his home in Benton, and that "nobody will ever find (Joey) Richards and that all of the people interviewed state they have no knowledge of the location of his body."
Jay W. Beeson Jr., 53, of Traskwood is also implicated in the murder of Anderson. Beeson, who also has a lengthy arrest record of violent crimes, faces a charge of capital murder and his trial is set for May 22.