Second trial scheduled in local murder case

November 13, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Cabell County prosecutors have elected to move forward in a 2016 murder case against a man by holding a second trial after the man’s first trial resulted in a hung jury earlier this year.

Brandon Lamar “Louie” McCauley, 26, of Detroit, was charged with murder in 2016 after 57-year-old Lawrence “Black Pops” Sykes was found shot to death Feb. 4, 2016, at an apartment in the 1300 block of Marcum Terrace in Huntington. After the shooting, McCauley left Huntington and fled to Detroit, where he was captured a year later.

McCauley went to trial in the case in September, but the trial resulted in a mistrial after jurors told Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson they could not reach a decision in the case after more than five hours of deliberation.

According to defense attorney Courtenay Craig, prosecutor Kellie Neal had offered his client a plea to second-degree murder on Nov. 5 in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence, with a minimum of 10 years served. He would have also had to serve a year of supervised release after his release from prison.

McCauley declined to accept that plea offer before Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson, and a Feb. 4, 2019, trial date was set. The trial will start exactly three years after Sykes’ death.

At the first trial assistant prosecutors Kellie Neal and Ryan Hamady called the shooting a revenge killing after two individuals robbed two other men, Dewey Michael “Old Man Mike” Woodrum and “Bigs,” of drugs and cash. Craig argued the shooting was a result of self-defense after McCauley found himself caught up in a physical fight with his life allegedly threatened.

McCauley had allegedly spent the day prior to his shooting running errands before “Bigs” called him to come to Marcum Terrace to take him to pay a phone bill. McCauley testified at trial that when he arrived, the two traveled to Woodrum’s apartment, where Sykes was located with several other people, because “Bigs” said he needed cash to pay the bill.

When “Bigs” arrived, a confrontation broke out between he and Woodrum and chaos ensued as McCauley and Sykes also began to fight.

McCauley testified Sykes had told him he would kill him if he did not leave and that he had shot Sykes when he started reaching for his pocket. Prosecution witnesses testified McCauley had been beating up Woodrum with “Bigs” and Sykes was attempting to help his friend prior to being killed.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.