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Mother, son charged in murder case

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Police say more arrests expected, widow files civil suit

By Calen McKinney

 

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Two members of a Taylor County family are now facing charges in connection with the murder of an Adair County man.

The mother and son were arrested Wednesday, several months after the father was charged with complicity to the murder.

The arrests of Derek Salyers, 25, of 825 Farmers Ridge Road in Elk Horn, and Ruth A. Salyers, 58, of 12764 Liberty Road in Elk Horn, make five people charged in connection with the death of Wendell “Gleason” Pyles.

The mother and son were indicted by a Taylor County grand jury on Tuesday.

Derek Salyers was charged, along with two others previously arrested in the case, his father David Salyers and William “Bobby” Rigdon. The three were charged with tampering with physical evidence, which is a Class D felony punishable by as much as five years in prison.

Derek Salyers was charged with hindering prosecution in a separate indictment. That charge is also a Class D felony.

In all, Derek Salyers faces as much as 10 years in prison if he is convicted. According to court records, he is also facing several other criminal charges in other cases.

Ruth Salyers was charged in another separate indictment with hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence. If convicted, she faces as much as 10 years in prison.

Derek Salyers and Ruth Salyers were lodged at the Taylor County Detention Center.

Ruth Salyers has since been released on a 10 percent of $15,000 bond, though her son remained incarcerated at press time on the same bond.

Ruth Salyers is set for arraignment in Taylor Circuit Court on Jan. 22. Derek Salyers is next scheduled to appear in court again on Feb. 19 in another case.

According to the indictments, David Salyers, Derek Salyers and Rigdon are accused of destroying a vehicle believed to be evidence. Ruth Salyers allegedly concealed a gun believed to be evidence.

Derek Salyers and Ruth Salyers allegedly hindered the apprehension of someone they knew was being accused of committing murder.

According to a Kentucky State Police news release, additional arrests are expected as a result of the ongoing investigation into Pyles’ murder in September.

David Salyers, 59, of 12764 Liberty Road in Elk Horn, was charged in October by a Casey County grand jury with complicity to Pyles’ murder.

A Casey County grand jury charged Rigdon, 27, of 2295 St. Rose Road in Lebanon, in October with murdering Pyles.

Anthony L. Byrd, 53, of Dunnville, was charged by a Casey County grand jury last month with facilitation to Pyles’ murder and hindering prosecution.

If convicted, David Salyers, Rigdon and Byrd face as much as life in prison.

Rigdon and David Salyers are being housed at the Casey County Jail on $1 million bonds. Byrd was also being housed at the Casey County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond, though records state he is no longer there. A search found Byrd is not being housed in Taylor or Marion counties.

According to a Kentucky State Police news release, Pyles was killed Sept. 26 while he was working at Tarter Gate Co. in Dunnville.

According to David Salyers’ arrest citation, an investigation revealed that he and Pyles had an ongoing argument over a debt Pyles allegedly owed to Salyers.

Court records state that during an interview with Salyers, he told KSP troopers that he wouldn’t reveal what happened because “he was not a rat.”

Later in the interview, records state, Salyers told troopers that what happened was not about Pyles quitting a motorcycle club the two belonged to, but was over the debt Pyles owed. Records state

Pyles and Salyers were members of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club.

Salyers told troopers that he drove the man who shot Pyles to Tarter Gate Co. in his truck, which was burned the night of the crime.

KSP Sgt. Andy Olson said in October that it isn’t known yet how many people were actually involved with killing Pyles.

Pyles, 50, had worked in maintenance at Tarter Gate. He was married to Tina Pyles and had five children and three grandchildren.

David Salyers is scheduled to appear in Casey Circuit Court today. Rigdon and Byrd are scheduled to appear March 25.

Anyone with information about this or any other crime is asked to call the Kentucky State Police tip line at (800) 222-5555.

Widow Files Civil Suit
A civil suit has been filed in Casey Circuit Court, claiming the company Pyles worked for failed to protect him, which makes the company negligent in his death.

Jamestown attorney Derrick G. Helm filed the complaint on Tuesday on behalf of Tina Pyles, personally and as the administratrix of her late husband’s estate.

Listed as defendants are Rigdon, David Salyers, Byrd, Tarter Gate Co. LLC, Tarter Management Co. LLC, Tarter Brothers LLC, Tarter Logistics LLC, Tarter Gate Wood Products LLC, Tarter Tube LLC, Liberty Tank LLC, Dunnville Logging Co. Inc., Rocky Run Outdoors LLC and Tarter Farm & Ranch LLC, all of Dunnville, and C-Ville Fabricating Inc. of Liberty. According to the complaint, Byrd, who was also employed at Tarter Gate, allegedly told David Salyers and Rigdon where Pyles was working on the Tarter Gate premises, thus allowing them to plan and execute Pyles’ murder.

The complaint states that Tarter Gate had a duty to provide protection and safety for Pyles as he worked, and failed to do so.

Tina Pyles claims Tarter Gate is also liable for her husband’s death because the company failed to supervise Byrd.

Tina Pyles is asking for punitive damages for the loss of her husband, along with the loss of his income and funeral expenses. She has also asked for court costs, attorney’s fees and a trial by jury.

As of press time, there were no court dates set in the civil case. Helm could not be reached for comment before press time.