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Judge to rule whether or not to dismiss capital charge

Halifax County Circuit Court Judge Joel Cunningham could rule on a defense motion Friday regarding whether or not to dismiss a capital charge in the murder case against James Lloyd Terry.

 In an earlier motions hearing this month, the defense argued the capital charge should be dropped because the state’s sentencing standards are arbitrary and capricious.

Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Kim White vigorously opposed the defendant’s motion to dismiss the capital charge against Terry.

 “This capital defense argument has been repeatedly raised and rejected by the Virginia State Court, although defense counsel neglects to cite those cases in [its] motion,” White said in her response in court earlier this month.

Cunningham took the motion under advisement and set Friday as the date to consider that and other motions.

Terry, a 40-year-old native of Halifax, is accused of capital murder and rape related to the April 2011 death of 84-year-old Charlotte Osborne Rice.

An autopsy report confirmed Rice died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The autopsy also indicated Rice suffered sexual trauma noting injuries to the neck and extensive hemorrhaging and injuries to the extremities, including abrasions to the left knee cap, left arm, left shoulder, right arm and right hand.

The autopsy noted extensive blunt force trauma to the head with multiple facial fractures and soft tissue injury extending to the neck and upper chest with significant intercranial hemorrhaging.

The extremities demonstrated multiple superficial abrasions, and additional areas of hemorrhaging on the arms were noted.

Terry was arrested on the murder charge in April 2011 the night the body of Rice was discovered in her North Main Street home when authorities responded to a report of a possible breaking and entering.

Acting on a 911 call to police from Rice’s neighbor, Joe Taylor, police arrived at the North Main Street residence where they apprehended Terry following a foot pursuit through yards neighboring Rice’s Victorian house.

Terry has been held without bond in the Halifax County Blue Ridge Regional Jail since the time of his arrest.

No trial date has been set, and Terry could face the death penalty if convicted.