Murder suspect indicted for possessing ammunition

September 15, 2023
Joseph Tykot

By Linda Cicoira

The suspect in a 2016 Accomack murder case was indicted Monday by a Northampton Grand Jury on a count of being a felon and possessing ammunition for a firearm.

Sixty-year-old Joseph Lewis Tykot III, of Painter, is accused of possessing ammo on Feb. 24, 2023. Tykot is not allowed to possess a gun or ammunition because he was convicted 35 years ago in New York of felony possession of narcotics.

Tykot is awaiting trial in Accomack for the second-degree murder of 41-year-old Eric Clifford Rhatigan, of Eastville. 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.

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The murder indictment was brought in October 2021. Jury trials are still behind schedule due to previous Covid restrictions. A pretrial hearing is set for later this month. A trial date was not available.

At a hearing just after the murder charge was brought, 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.

Morgan’s star witness in the murder case will be Susan Kelly Hines Antrim, of Davis Wharf. Tykot was ordered to have no contact with her. She is the mother of Rhatigan’s children and found Rhatigan’s body.

Morgan said Antrim will testify that she spoke to Tykot, who told her that Rhatigan was alive “when we left him and we got his truck too.” The exterior of Rhatigan’s vehicle was apparently bashed and destroyed around the same time.

Defense lawyer Garrett Dunham then argued Tykot has been offense-free for more than 30 years. The defense lawyer noted Antrim is also a suspect in the case. Conditions of Tykot’s release included not contacting Antrim in any way. He was permitted to leave the Shore for medical appointments only.

A date for the ammunition charge in Northampton has not been set.

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