Murder trial to open today in Wellsville shooting death

By D.a. Wilkinson

LISBON — Before Jamie A. Farley died from gunshot wounds, he told police the name of the man he said pulled the trigger.

Eric M. Dillard, 31, Commerce Street, Wellsville, is charged with murder and illegal possession of a weapon. The latter charge stems from a case in 1999 when he was convicted of preparation of marijuana for sale.

He is accused of shooting an acquaintance, Farley, 35, of East Liverpool, on Commerce Street in Wellsville about 10 p.m. April 22, 2008. Farley was apparently unarmed.

Dillard, however, is claiming self-defense.

Farley identified his attacker for police before he was taken to East Liverpool City Hospital, where he died.

County Prosecutor Robert Herron and defense lawyers James Hartford and Doug King said Monday the case would not be settled with a plea.

A jury is to be picked today, then taken to Wellsville to view the shooting scene.

According to police, Farley got out of his car on Commerce Street and was shot at least twice as he approached Dillard, who was in front of his home.

Farley was shot with a .40-caliber pistol that was found at the scene. Three shell casings and two live rounds were found with the pistol that had apparently jammed.

The case is one of the county’s rare murder trials but has taken several unusual twists.

While awaiting trial, Dillard asked if he could go to West Virginia to apply for a job. Judge C. Ashley Pike of common pleas court denied the request on the grounds that the trial was approaching and the business was out of state.

As the case progressed, Judge Pike made a limited court order to the prosecutor’s office about disclosing more information to the defense, or so-called “open disclosure.”

Open disclosure in general means a greater amount of information is released by prosecutors in an effort to streamline cases and ensure justice. Open disclosure is used in some Ohio counties.

Law enforcement officials were concerned about a rise in their workload with the judge’s ruling about getting more information to the defense, but Judge Pike’s order was limited.

Herron said that no other gun was found at the scene.

Wellsville police and members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation were called to the scene. The area, including storm drains, was searched.

Farley had been in the passenger seat of a car driven by his girlfriend, Shirley Hackney, according to court records.

He apparently got out of the car and moved toward Dillard’s home.

Wellsville Police Chief Joe Scarbino said he saw blood on the inside of the passenger’s side door and the dashboard. Police also found blood on the street near Dillard’s home.

Also in the car was Hackney’s mother, Andrea; Hackney’s 9-year-old son, Caleb Hackney; and Andee, Hackney’s 15-month old daughter.

Wellsville Patrolman Marsha Eisenhart testified at a previous hearing that the wounded Farley was on the street and said he could not breathe. She told him to rest.

She asked him, “Who shot you?” and Farley said, “It was Eric Dillard.”

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