WILMINGTON – The jury trial for Phillip T. Davis was continued to October in a decision to have all 524 counts in one trial.
Originally, Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck severed the charges Phillip T. Davis, 33, of Wilmington, was charged with so there would be multiple trials with 20 counts in each trial. He assigned the state the task of choosing the first 20 counts for the first trial, which was scheduled to start Tuesday.
Before starting the jury process, Rudduck spoke with the defense and prosecuting attorneys for more than an hour.
“Some legal issues surfaced as I reviewed the case file and the records that I wanted to address,” he said.
John Kaspar, Davis’ attorney, originally filed an objection to having the charges split up, Rudduck said.
“He felt it would be prejudicial to his client to have multiple trials,” Rudduck said. “The court decided … (it) had the authority to sever the cases.”
The state came forward at the last pre-trial, which was Aug. 18, with the 20 charges they would present at the first trial. The charges included 19 counts of trafficking cocaine in the fifth degree and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first degree felony.
If the court moved forward with smaller, 20-count trials, the prosecution advised it would take three or four months, Rudduck said.
“In retrospect … the court brought it to the attention of the attorneys that there may be some issues resulting from (separating the charges),” he said. “Looking back on it, the court should not have done so.”
The state said it would be prejudiced if the trial continued as it was planned today. The state said it would rather have all 524 counts in one trial.
“We would present evidence on the total amount of all charges,” said Brian Shidaker, prosecuting attorney. “I honestly believe that we could get this down to two or three weeks.”
Kaspar said he and his client supported the decision to have all 524 counts in one trial. Kaspar did ask that Davis’ bond be dropped, because his client has been in jail for 453 days.
Rudduck continued the bond, though, and scheduled the trial for the end of October.
“I’m going to reschedule this … at the first reasonably available day to give everybody time to prepare for a 524-count trial,” he said.
The trial will continue Oct. 27 at 9 a.m.
Reach Dylanne Petros at 937-382-2574, ext. 2514, or on Twitter @DylannePetros.