Slip of tongue ends trial; man facing charges
November 16, 2011
Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com,
|WARREN – After working as a police officer for nearly 30 years, Detective Rick Tackett said he knew better than to misspeak while testifying in court.
But a slight slip-up in Tackett’s testimony Tuesday prompted Judge Peter Kontos to declare a mistrial in the case of a Warren man accused of insurance fraud and selling heroin.
Tackett was the first witness in the case against Drew Reid of Jefferson Street S.W., and he was explaining to a jury of four men and eight women how he was supervising a confidential informant who made undercover buys at Reid’s house when he started to explain that Reid ”has a history as a known drug dealer.”
Reid’s attorney Rob Kokor objected, triggering a bench conference between Kokor, assistant county prosecutor Michael Burnett and the judge.
”The bell has been rung,” said Kokor, explaining that jurors were most likely prejudiced against his client, and they aren’t entitled to hear such remarks unless the defendant takes the witness stand.
Kontos said the case will be retried Nov. 28 with a new group of jurors.
Both attorneys on the case had finished their opening statements before Tackett was called to the stand.
Reid remains free on $25,000 bond and at his next trial must overcome a stipulated polygraph exam that Burnett said he failed after showing deception on several questions.
Reid was targeted by agents with the Trumbull and Geauga Law Enforcement Task Force who made undercover buys at Reid’s home on Nov. 20, 2009, before executing a search warrant Nov. 25, 2009, when more heroin was found inside the house. He faces two counts of heroin trafficking from the TAG investigation.
Burnett said when Reid was arrested and before he was freed on bond, his home was burglarized and he is accused of turning in a fraudulent insurance claim to State Farm, fabricating property that had not been stolen and that he never owned in the first place.
Burnett said the $71,000 claim included several TVs and laptop computers along mink furs and diamonds along with other jewelry and other electronic equipment.