FRONT ROYAL – A trial date of September 10 has been set for the start of the murder trial of a Front Royal man accused of shooting his mother’s fiancé last March in the Grand Avenue home they shared. David Glynn Hoyle pled not guilty Wednesday, January 3, to counts of First Degree Murder and the Use of a Firearm in the commission of a felony. A full week of the Warren County Circuit Court docket was set aside for a jury trial.
Hoyle, 32 at the time of the March 27 shooting of 58-year-old Warren Howard Ramsey, faces 20 years to life on the murder charge and a mandatory-minimum of three years on the firearm charge. Hoyle remains incarcerated without bond at RSW Regional Jail.
Wednesday was Hoyle’s second court appearance within two weeks. On December 20, his defense team’s motion to suppress some evidence gathered at the scene in the immediate aftermath of the shooting – including Hoyle’s admission to shooting Ramsey – was denied by Judge Ronald Napier.
Several issues likely to play a pivotal role in a trial, or any potential plea agreement, were alluded to during that December 20 hearing. Under questioning from defense counsel Ryan Nuzzo, one Front Royal Police Officer at the scene testified he was aware from previous interactions that Hoyle had suffered a brain injury at some point in his life.
In seeking suppression of evidence gathered in police interviews with Hoyle at the scene, Nuzzo questioned his client’s ability to comprehend the implications of his waiver of his Miranda right to not answer questions or to have an attorney present for any questioning. Testimony indicated that during questioning by first officers at the scene, Hoyle had nodded affirmatively when asked if he shot Ramsey.
Judge Napier observed from viewing police camera video from the scene that it appeared to him officers were not trying to elicit a confession from Hoyle, but rather trying to get a handle on a very volatile and emotional situation they walked into – a situation that included the possibility there was an armed shooter at the scene or nearby. Police responded to the report of a shooting at the Grand Avenue residence at 10:49 p.m., Monday evening, March 27.
“He seemed upset, in a state of shock,” Front Royal Police Officer Tyler Smith testified of Hoyle’s demeanor at the scene. “I couldn’t stand the torture …I couldn’t take it anymore – but I didn’t want to do that,” Smith testified of Hoyle’s comments to officers.
The police report states that according to an unidentified family member Hoyle walked into the living room where Ramsey was seated on the couch and began shooting without any words being exchanged between the two. During hearings Hoyle’s mother Wanda Horton has been identified as one family member present at the scene with her son when police arrived to a report of a shooting.
In an April hearing in Warren County General District Court, a mental competency evaluation of Hoyle was granted to the defense. Asked by Judge W. Dale Houff if they were going to file an insanity plea on behalf of their client, the defense team of Nuzzo and Tim Coyne indicated they would defer a decision pending the results of any mental evaluations.