Judge denies motion for new murder trial for Tyler Clay

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District Judge Matt Johnson Thursday denied a motion for a new trial for Tyler Sherrod Clay, who had been found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

The trial had been marked with difficulties, first delayed because of a problem getting a witness to court, then by a call for a mistrial after the guilty verdict was handed down over an unredacted piece of video shown during prosecution final arguments.

During a Thursday hearing in 54th District Court, Judge Johnson sustained the state’s objections to a new trial as presented by Assistant District Attorney Gabe Price following a presentation by defense counsel of additional evidence or testimony that was outside the existing trial record.

Immediately after the presentations Judge Johnson denied the motion for a new trial.

Clay had been charged with soliciting a man to kill Joshua Ladale Pittman who was shot and killed at the Pick N Pay Food Mart at 504 Faulkner Lane December 23, 2015.

Police spokesman Patrick Swanton said during the investigation of Pittman’s murder, it was learned that Pittman had been involved in committing multiple robberies of individuals.

Investigators believed  that Pittman had set up Keith Spratt to be robbed and also robbed the second suspect, Tyler Clay. 

They charge that Tyler Clay solicited Keith Spratt for the murder of Pittman.

The trial had first been delayed when a key witness who was also in federal custody was taken back by the feds as a result of a paperwork problem.

The call for a mistrial came after a piece of video evidence that was shown during final arguments was not redacted.

Earlier in the trial, the judge had ruled that part of the video was not to be shown.

The wrong version of the video was played the second time during the final arguments.

Before they began deliberating,  the jury had been ordered to disregard what they had seen in the video.

The judge had denied the motion for a mistrial before sentencing,

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