February 7, 2024
Joseph Tykot
By Linda Cicoira

The suspect in a 2016 Accomack murder case was convicted of being a felon and possessing ammunition Tuesday in Northampton Circuit Court.

Sixty-one-year-old Joseph Lewis Tykot III, of Martin Road in Harborton, told the court he did not know that he was not allowed to buy ammo because of his 1988 narcotics possession conviction in New York.

     Tykot admitted to buying four boxes or 80 rounds on Feb. 24, 2023. He paid with a credit card thinking he was doing nothing wrong. Tykot said he had been buying ammo at Northampton Firearms for years.

Defense lawyer James Broccoletti, of Norfolk, said his client did not intentionally break the law. He was unaware of the restriction and although he has not owned or purchased a gun, he thought that he might be allowed to do that as well since he believed the drug conviction would have been expunged by now.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Vincent deLalla said, “Not knowing is not an excuse.”

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     When Tykot bought the ammo, he was free on bond after being indicted for murder. He is scheduled to be tried for second-degree murder by a jury in June for the death of 41-year-old Eric Clifford Rhatigan, of Eastville, eight years ago.

The victim’s body was found on June 15, 2016, in “a dirt field” about “145 Feet” from Davis Wharf Road. Court records state Ratigan died from multiple blunt force traumas to the head, neck, and torso. A shoe impression at the site, “indicated that at least one other individual was in the field” with Rhatigan, according to court records. A cell phone that was found near the body belonged to the victim.

The murder indictment was brought in October 2021 but had delays due to Covid restrictions.

Accomack Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan argued against bond saying, Tykot “is a danger to the community.” The prosecutor said evidence will show a cigarette butt found to have Tykot’s DNA on it was found near Rhatigan’s body.

     Sentencing in the ammo case was set for May 20. Tykot, who remains free on bond, said he bought ammo because his family and his construction crew have target practice on his property. He said he hunts with a bow.

     Two of Tykot’s employees were with him the day he bought the ammo. One wanted to buy a gun but was not old enough, according to testimony.

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February 21, 2024, 5:20 pm
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