SAN ANGELO, TX – After nearly two and a half years of hearings, Thomas Gene Riddle, 33, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity after a police investigation revealed he had murdered his mother’s fiancé by bludgeoning him to death. According to a police report, the responding officer found the victim, Jerry Don Barr, inside a closet.
Riddle had been previously found not competent to stand trial and spent a year at Vernon State Hospital campus in Kerrville. Riddle returned to the Tom Green County Jail in late July where he awaited his trial date.
Based on the evaluation performed by two medical professionals, Riddle was not sane at the time of the incident but was competent to stand trial today. The court accepted his plea and found Riddle not guilty by reason of mental defect. Riddle’s behavior is considered dangerous and he was remanded to the custody of Tom Green Sheriff’s Office.
He will remain in the Tom Green County Sheriff's custody up to 14 days before he is transferred to another facility for evaluation. After he is evaluated it appears to be that he may be sent to a maximum-security facility where he can serve up to 99 years.
In many cases, a plea of not guilty could lead to the charge being expunged, but due to the nature of the crime and plea that wouldn’t be possible in this case. Murder is a first-degree felony and carries a sentence of 5-99 years or life in prison.
WATCH: Thomas Riddle Leaving the Tom Green County Courthouse: