June 5, 2024
 |
Joseph Tykot
By Linda Cicoira

A murder trial involving the 2016 death of Eastville resident Eric Clifford Ratigan was set to begin Tuesday in Accomack Circuit Court and was continued once again. It has now been reset for February 2025, nine years after the man’s body was found in a dirt field.

Sixty-one-year-old Joseph Lewis Tykot III, of Martin Road in Harborton, was indicted on a count of second-degree murder of Ratigan in October 2021. At first, the case was delayed due to COVID restrictions. The contractor has been free on a $100,000 bond since about two weeks after he was arrested for murder.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan disclosed Monday that the murder case was continued. “We agreed to move it so that we could have more time to look at some additional evidence,” he said in an email.

In Northampton Circuit Court, Tykot was recently convicted of being a felon and possessing ammunition in 2023. In that case, he contended that he did not know he was prohibited from buying ammo because of his 1988 narcotics possession conviction in New York. He admitted he purchased four boxes or 80 rounds on Feb. 24, 2023, and paid with a credit card thinking he was doing nothing wrong. Tykot said he had been buying ammo at Northampton Firearms for years.

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Ratigan’s body was found on June 15, 2016, about 145 Feet from Davis Wharf Road. The victim died of multiple blunt force traumas to the head, neck, and torso, according to the autopsy. A shoe impression found at the site did not match the victim’s. Ratigan’s cell phone was discovered near his body. And there was a wallet at the scene.

     At a hearing, months ago, it was revealed that a cigarette butt with Tykot’s DNA on it was also found near Ratigan’s body. The defense argued that there was a break in the chain of evidence. A motion to keep that evidence out of the trial was unsuccessful.

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