Clanton man facing murder charges in Autauga County claims self defense

Published 3:53 pm Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A 20-year-old Clanton man facing murder charges stemming from a September 2013 stabbing incident in Prattville is claiming he acted in self defense.

Richard J. Tyus, 20, from the 900 block of Second Avenue in Clanton, appeared in Autauga County Circuit Court for arraignment Feb. 10 in front of Circuit Judge Ben Fuller.

Chief District Attorney C.J. Robinson with the 19th Judicial Circuit including Chilton, Elmore and Autauga counties confirmed Jan. 24 the case was presented to the Autauga grand jury and his charges were upgraded to murder.

Autauga County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chief Joe Sedinger said Tyus allegedly stabbed Brian Bernard Bristow, 28, of Marbury on Sept. 30, 2013.

“The men were watching a football game and got into an argument, Sedinger said. “Bristow was in the hospital for about a month and died later from his wounds.”

Bristow died Oct. 24, 2013. The case was the only homicide investigated by the Autauga Sheriff’s Office for 2013.

Sedinger said the incident occurred in the Pink Lilly community.

Mickey McDermott, an attorney representing Tyus in the case, said on Wednesday there were several factors leading him to believe Tyus acted in self defense.

McDermott said Tyus was at the party and claims Bristow pushed him and cursed at him resulting in Tyus leaving the party.

“When he leaves the party, he leaves all of his possessions at the residence including a book bag with some of his music until the next morning,” McDermott said. “Richard gets a text the next morning from the victim telling him he can come over and retrieve his possessions. Richard gets his mother to drive him over to the residence with his 10-year-old sister in the car and they drive over to where the party was held.”

McDermott said several individuals were at the residence when Tyus returned and when he went inside to retrieve his belongings an altercation ensued.

“We believe the wound pattern will clearly indicate that these were defensive wounds,” McDermott said. “The victim and Richard knew one another but they were not close friends.”

McDermott said Tyus and his mother drove the victim to the emergency room where he stayed in the hospital for a month and a half before passing away.

McDermott said the defense will seek a court order to exhume Bristow’s body for a private autopsy to determine if hospital negligence in not treating an infection led to his death.

Tyus will appear in court March 3 in Autauga County to seek a youthful offender status in the case.