Jurors hear testimony in Ryles trial

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 11, 2014

During Wednesday morning’s session of Brandon Ryles’ trial, jurors heard testimony from Letoya Ware, John Foster’s fiancé at the time of the April 2011 double homicide in the Needmore Community.

Carla Smilie and Mark Adams were found shot to death on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 by Adams’ landlord Linda Blake and neighbor Charles Green.

Brandon Ryles, John Foster, Marquise McClaney and Troy McClaney were all charged with three counts of capital murder in relation to the case. Troy McClaney and Marquise McClaney both accepted a plea deal of two counts of felony murder and agreed to testify in any matters related to the case.

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Foster had initially entered a plea deal for two counts of felony murder and agreed to testify, but his plea was revoked after Foster refused to testify in Marquise McClaney’s trial in mid-August.

Ryles and Foster are both up for three counts of capital murder, one count of capital murder for each murder in the case and another count for committing the act of murder during the course of another crime.

Ware testified in court Tuesday that she had met Ryles once before the April 2011 incident, saying Ryles and Marquise McClaney, or “Boogie,” had come by her residence looking for Foster, who lived with her at the time.

“Basically he was saying he doesn’t have anything to lose,” Ware said. “He’d been kicked out of the Army, his girlfriend, or wife at the time, kicked him out and he said he needed money.”

Ware testified that she had visited the Pike County Jail to see the father of her children Robert Smiley. Ryles was in the same cell with Smiley and told Ware Smiley was talking to another woman in the jail.

“He said John was going to be locked up,” Ware said. “He said we wouldn’t be together anymore and that when he (Ryles) got out we were going to be together, and he was going to buy me some roses.”

During the defense’s questioning of Ware, Ware stated she felt some of the aspects of her statement were incorrect.

Blake had previously testified that when Ware moved into her trailer she told Blake Foster was her brother not her boyfriend, but Ware testified in court Wednesday she had never said that Foster was her brother.

Defense attorney for Ryles Gary Bradshaw, asked Ware about telling law enforcement officers Foster would occasionally sell drugs and got pills from her in her statement. Ware testified that she was unaware of Foster selling pills and did not know where the pills were coming from if Foster had been selling them.

Jurors also heard testimony from Gary Dahlberg, Blake’s fiancé at the time of the incident, and Blake.

Dahlberg testified Blake had been with him in Atlanta the night of April 4. Adams had been watching Dahlberg and Blake’s dog Gator for the weekend, and Dahlberg said the two called Adams’ to check on the dog and the weather.

“Atlanta time, it would have been right around 11 o’clock that night,” Dahlberg said. “It was a bad storm that came through and we wanted to find out about that.”

Dahlberg and Blake said Adams handed the phone to Foster after Blake asked if that was him she had heard in the background.

“I asked him what was going on, and he said they were just hanging out,” Dahlberg said. “At that point, I felt like everything was fine.”

The jurors were slated to hear from two other witnesses following Wednesday’s recess for lunch including Green. The trial will continue Thursday at 9 a.m. in Courtroom B.