By Linda Cicoira
The recently indicted suspect in the 2016 murder of 41-year-old Eric Clifford Rhatigan, of Eastville, was granted a bond of $100,000 Thursday, in Accomack Circuit Court.
Deputies ushered the suspect, 58-year-old Joseph Tykot of Painter, back across the street to Accomack Jail, just after the hearing. Tykot will continue to be held there until arrangements can be made for his release.
The local contractor will either have to come up with the entire amount or will have to put up $10,000 with a bondsman before going home. Tykot was arrested Oct. 15. At that time, a magistrate denied him bail. He was indicted Oct. 8, on a count of second-degree murder. Rhatigan died from multiple blunt force traumas to the head, neck, and torso.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan argued against bond saying, Tykot “is a danger to the community.” Morgan said evidence against Tykot will include a cigarette butt that was found near Rhatigan’s body. It was tested and found to contain Tykot’s DNA.
Morgan also said Tykot is a felon with a 1988 drug possession conviction. The prosecutor’s star witness, in the case against Tykot, will be Susan Kelly 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 in a field not far from her home, in June 2016.
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 said Tykot was convicted of the drug offense more than 30 years and has since had a clean record. Tykot’s wife, Kimberly Tykot, told the judge her husband has health issues that need to be addressed. She added, “He just had back surgery, from which he has not yet recovered … He is not holding up well.” Incarceration is causing “a longer recovery. He’s not even supposed to lift a gallon of milk.”
Kimberly Tykot said her husband works for another contractor during the week and for himself on weekends. “He hasn’t run ever,” she added. Before being arrested, he was supervising construction as much as he could. Other family members and friends, including Billy Graham, of the Parksley area, were at the proceeding to support Tykot. Graham told the court of his decades-long friendship with Tykot and of the defendant’s work skills.
Dunham 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.