WILMINGTON — There will be one more pre-trial hearing for the alleged leader of the Marlena Park Gang.
Phillip T. Davis is charged with 529 miscellaneous drug charges. Those include:
• eight counts of trafficking cocaine, first degree;
• one count of trafficking cocaine, fourth degree;
• 461 counts of trafficking cocaine, fifth degree;
• six counts of possession of cocaine, fifth degree;
• two counts of aggravated trafficking of drugs, second degree;
• three counts of aggravated trafficking of drugs, third degree;
• 10 counts of aggravated trafficking of drugs, fourth degree;
• one count of aggravated trafficking of drugs, fifth degree;
• one count of trafficking heroin, fifth degree; eight counts of trafficking marijuana, fourth degree;
• 28 counts of trafficking marijuana, fifth degree.
Friday’s pre-trial was supposed to be the last one before Davis goes in front of a jury Sept. 22, but new information was brought up by prosecutors that Davis’ attorney, John Kaspar, wants to review.
Concerns were brought up during the pre-trial about the number of counts Davis is charged with as well.
Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck said he thinks doing all 529 charges in one trial could be too much for Davis’ attorney — by having the attorney potentially shut down his office for one client — as well as for the court.
“As a single-judge court, it would completely disrupt the administration of justice because taking three or four months of this courtroom’s time, of my time, for that is do-able, but basically … everything else would have to come to a standstill,” he said Friday.
Having all the charges in one trial, Rudduck said, would also be too much for jurors to digest.
“I think overall to try and expect a jury to understand 529 separate charges is going to be too confusing,” he said.
Instead of one large trial, Rudduck is opting for multiple 20-count trials.
On Friday Rudduck said the state has seven days to identify the first set of charges they will try Davis with and let him (Rudduck) know.
The plan Rudduck has is to hold a 20-count jury trial in 10 days, take a two-week break and then repeat. If that is done, there will be 26 or 27 trials overall.
“I think that’s a better approach than trying them all at one time,” Rudduck said.
The original trial, with all 529 counts, was expected to last three to four months. Rudduck said the new, multiple trials should take about the same time.
“We’re not going to be extending the duration too much,” he said.
Davis’ next, and anticipated last, pre-trial hearing is set for 2 p.m. Aug. 18.
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