TALLADEGA COUNTY -- After saying they were deadlocked Tuesday, a Talladega County jury of 11 men and one woman Wednesday convicted a Sylacauga man of reckless endangerment following a two-day trial.
Timothy Riddlehoover, 63, was indicted on a charge of attempted murder of a Sylacauga police officer but was convicted of the lesser included misdemeanor offense, according to District Attorney Steve Giddens.
The maximum penalty for a reckless endangerment conviction is 12 months in the county jail. Riddlehoover never posted bond and had been in jail since his arrest in August 2015. Talladega County Metro Jail records indicate Riddlehoover was released Wednesday afternoon.
According to evidence presented at trial, Riddlehoover called 911 from his home in Sylacauga on Aug. 5, 2015, claiming that he had taken “extra medicine” and needed help. He went on to tell the dispatcher that he had three loaded firearms and made threats against anyone who came to his home.
Sylacauga police Sgt. Shane Bland initially tapped on a window, then moved toward the front door. The first of seven shots Riddlehoover fired went through the front door and storm door and missed Bland’s chest by inches.
Riddlehoover, who had previously worked as a registered nurse, was taking three prescription medications for anxiety, major depression and bipolar disorder at the time of the incident. He had also been drinking heavily and was audibly impaired on the 911 tape.
That tape and footage from several police body cameras were played for the jury during the trial. The major issue dealt with the question of intent, which is an element of attempted murder.
Prosecutors Christina Kilgore and Jake Argo argued that voluntary intoxication is not a defense in a criminal case under Alabama law. Defense attorney Jon Adams agreed but said Riddlehoover’s intoxication did prevent him from forming the intent necessary for the jury to convict for attempted murder. Adams asked Circuit Judge Julian King to include the lesser charge of reckless endangerment for the jury’s consideration.
The state argued that the reckless endangerment charge was not appropriate in this case, but King found the relevant case law supported the defense’s argument.
Jurors began their deliberations Tuesday afternoon and were out for around 90 minutes before sending King a note saying they were hopelessly deadlocked. King sent them back to deliberate further, and after another half hour or so, they agreed to leave for the day and resume their deliberations Wednesday morning, although the author of the second note did not seem optimistic of reaching a verdict.
Giddens said jurors came back with the reckless endangerment verdict at around 9:30 a.m., after another hour or so of deliberation.
Anthony Davon Morris trial
In the meantime, another jury was selected to try Anthony Davon Morris, 31, who is charged with discharging a firearm into an unoccupied dwelling and discharging a firearm into an unoccupied vehicle.
The charges against Morris stem from an incident on Garrett Drive on Alpine on Sept. 5, 2016. According to the state’s arguments, Morris and the victim had gotten into a disagreement regarding a posting on Facebook.
The defense called Morris’s girlfriend at the time of the incident, who gave him in alibi. On cross examination, however, the state pointed to cellphone records that showed four phone calls and 24 text messages between the witness and Morris during the time they were supposed to be together in her car or her home near Harpersville.
According to information from the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office at the time, Morris was arrested in December 2016. A warrant had been issued for Morris’s arrest, but deputies could not find him until he sought medical treatment for a bullet wound he said he sustained while riding a motorcycle on Garrett Lane. The wound turned out to be a flesh wound to the arm. Morris stopped cooperating with the deputies after the warrant was served.
Shooting into an unoccupied dwelling or vehicle is a class C felony in Alabama, punishable upon conviction by one year and one day to 10 years in prison.