Salyers’ trial under way

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By Larry Rowell

The prosecution and the defense in the David Salyers’ complicity to commit murder trial compared the case to putting a puzzle together. However, the two sides presented decidedly different pieces to complete that puzzle.

With a jury seated on Monday in Green County Circuit Court, Prosecutor Shawna Virgin Kincer began outlining the state’s case in seeking to convince jurors that David Salyers, charged with driving Bobby Rigdon to Tarter Pallet Mill on Sept. 26, 2012 to shoot Gleason Pyles, orchestrated events when Rigdon shot Pyles over an alleged debt on a motorcycle and because of the way Pyles tried to leave the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle club, of which, he, and Rigdon are members.

Kincer, in her opening statement Tuesday morning, said that the debt over a motorcycle and Pyles wanting to leave the club were not reasons to die.

“He didn’t deserve to die,” Kincer said.

Kincer, using a large screen TV, began putting the puzzle pieces together, including establishing a timeline showing that Salyers was the president of a local chapter of the Iron Horsemen, a club which Kincer said was “1 percenters, the worst of the worst.”

In addition, Kincer showed photos of Salyers’ and Rigdon’s movements the night of the crime, placing them at Crockett Trail Store just prior to the murder.

Jurors were also shown graphic photos of Pyles at the murder scene lying in a pool of his own blood. 

Additionally, the jury saw autopsy photos after he was shot three times  \ a grazing wound to the back of his head, the bullet wound to his shoulder and the fatal shot to the back of the head.

Kincer also established that Salyers called Tony Byrd, his brother-in-law, the night of the murder to make sure Pyles would be working alone at the pallet mill. Byrd was Pyles’ supervisor. 

The prosecution said it will also offer evidence that a cigarette butt with Bobby Rigdon’s DNA on it was found at the scene of the crime.

Kincer painted a picture of Rigdon chasing Pyles in the yard of the pallet mill and shooting him down in cold blood, saying that Pyles died instantly from the third gunshot.

“He never had a chance to get away,” she said.

After the murder, Salyers’ truck was found burned in Taylor County and he reported it stolen the next day, a statement which detectives proved to be false.

But ultimately, Kincer said it was Salyers who wanted to have Pyles killed.

“This is a case about choices. In the end, David Salyers wanted Gleason Pyles dead and he chose the time, the place, the shooter and then tried to cover it up,” she said.


Defense attorney Jude Hagan wasted no time in putting together a completely different puzzle about David Salyers, 61, who in past hearings wore prison garb but was dressed in a white dress shirt for the first day of trial.

“David Salyers is not guilty. The Commonwealth has no evidence that David Salyers wanted Gleason Pyles dead,” Hagan said.

Hagan said that Salyers was a hard working family man who went through eighth grade in Casey County at Garrett and Middleburg schools before dropping out to go to work.

Salyers moved to Cincinnati where he worked at Barq’s Root Beer factory before returning to Taylor County where he purchased more than 170 acres of land and began hauling gates, first for Tarter Gate and then for Casey County Gate in Clementsville.

Hagan denied that Salyers was a member of a notorious motorcycle gang chapter, but instead was a member of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club, which Salyers restarted in the fall of 2010. Hagan said that the idea that the local chapter of the Iron Horsemen being a notorious motorcycle gang has been  gblown beyond proportion. h

Further, Hagan said that Salyers and Pyles were friends who had had their differences in the past but had “mended their fences,” even to the point of Salyers being instrumental in Pyles getting the job at Tarter Pallet Mill.

Hagan then pointed a finger at Bobby Rigdon as the murderer and said that prior to 2012 Salyers had never met Rigdon, who worked briefly for Salyers before being jailed in Taylor County on domestic violence charges.

When Rigdon was bonded out of jail in July 2012 by Ricky Salyers, David’s brother, he again worked part time for Salyers.

Hagan said that on the night of the murder, Salyers wanted to talk to Pyles about buying a motorcycle and had been trying to get in touch with him about the deal.

When Salyers and Rigdon arrived at the pallet mill, Hagan said that Pyles wanted more profit on the motorcycle than previously discussed and then Pyles cursed Salyers.

Hagan said that Rigdon, who tried to take up for Salyers, snapped after Pyles asked him, “What, are you now his b***h?”

Rigdon then chased Pyles and shot him, Hagan said.

Hagan maintains that Salyers was in the wrong place at the wrong time and this would have never happened if Rigdon was not a “hothead.”

Deliberations in the trial are expected to last two weeks.