San Angelo man enters ‘Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity’ plea for 2016 murder


SAN ANGELO, Texas – Thomas Gene Riddle, 33, pleaded Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity to a murder charge in a Tom Green County courtroom on Monday, November 25, 2019.

The defense offered two reports by two psychologists who had both deemed Riddle as “not sane” at the time of the murder. Based on the evidence, Judge Jay Weatherby ruled that Riddle was insane at the time of the murder. He also found Riddle to be “dangerous” by the court’s definition. Judge Weatherby remanded Riddle back to the custody of the Tom Green County Jail but stated that Riddle will undergo evaluations and committed to a maximum security facility during that time. Judge Weatherby said based on those findings, Riddle could be sent to a mental health facility to complete rehabilitation from anywhere from two to 99 years.

According to police, Riddle was charged with killing his mother’s fiance, Jerry Don Barr, on March 19, 2016. Reports indicate Riddle killed Barr by hitting him in the head with a “blunt metal object.”

Police records show that on that day, Riddle’s mother found her fiance deceased in their apartment in the 3300 block of Rock Brook Drive. She called police and told them she thought her son had something to do with it because she had just seen him. She told police he had red droplets on his pants and was “acting in a manner which was odd to her.”

Riddle’s mother said she had spotted her son walking about two blocks from Rock Brook Apartments. He was carrying a Bible, which belonged to his grandmother, and a gallon of milk. Riddle’s mother asked what her son was doing but told police he never gave her a clear answer. She then continued to make her way to her apartment.

Records show that’s when she said she found her fiance face down in a pool of blood in their closet. She shook Barr to try to revive him then, called 911.

San Angelo Police Sgt. Richard Tinsley found Riddle a short time later near Olive Garden off of Houston Harte Expressway. Sgt. Tinsley noted he saw what appeared to be blood on Riddle’s pants and face.

When Riddle was Mirandized and questioned, police say he initially denied being in the apartment but later admitted to going inside to get some milk. Riddle also told police he cut his hand while cutting some meat so that’s why he had blood on him. Police asked if Riddle had seen Barr inside the apartment. Police say Riddle denied seeing Barr but said Barr was “dead to him anyway” and continued to refer to Barr in the past tense throughout the interview.

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