City Court 4-13-12

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2012

Defendant charged with embezzlement; money in sock

By Billy Davis

A city court case charging embezzlement at Kroger was continued until April 18 after a laptop computer was unable to play camera footage of the alleged incident.

Judge Bill McKenzie had listened to approximately 15 minutes of testimony when he asked to review the video before ruling on the case.

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Eric Smith, of Marks, a sacker at the Batesville grocery store, is accused of swiping a fifty-dollar bill dropped by a customer.

Smith faces a $325 fine if found guilty, though unpaid fines of $1,238, and a six-month suspended jail sentence, are also hanging over his head.  

Kroger manager Robert Coleman testified Wednesday that he confronted Smith about the theft and showed him footage that showed the incident.

 “I’m guilty of picking up the money but not guilty of embezzlement,” Smith told McKenzie.
Smith went on to explain that he discovered the money wrapped in a store receipt and brought it back to work the following day, though the fifty-dollar bill was stuffed in his sock.

“It was in your sock?” McKenzie asked.

“I keep all my money in my sock,” Smith replied.

Batesville police Lt. Ruby Myers confirmed Smith had the money is his sock.

“To be fair, I’m going to look at the tape,” McKenzie announced.

When a computer disc provided by Coleman failed to work, the judge asked the store manager to return next week with the proper equipment to play it.

The case against Smith was related to a second city court trial that preceded it. Brittany Haire, of 114 Three Wheeler Road, Enid, was found guilty of marijuana possession.

Courtroom testimony revealed that Haire, a friend of Eric Smith, was present at Kroger when Smith told police a receipt in Haire’s car would prove his innocence.

When police accompanied Smith to the car, they smelled the odor of marijuana, said BPD Officer Justin Maples.

Maples testified that a search of the car revealed marijuana in a Crown Royal bag, and a search of Haire revealed marijuana seeds in her pockets.

McKenzie assigned Haire to the city’s work program to work off the $650 fine.

Other court trials

Judge McKenzie dismissed a charge of simple assault against Antonio Crump, 430 Tubbs Road, due to lack of evidence.

Lawrence Hoskins filed the charge against Crump, alleging he had told Crump to leave his family’s former home that Hoskins had purchased in foreclosure.

McKenzie carefully questioned Crump about hitting Hoskins — “I never pushed him,” Crump said at one point — but the judge then read Crump’s statement to police that he pushed Hoskins away.

Crump also testified he followed Hoskins to the police department to file papers that he did not hit him.

“Y’all know me,” Crump told the judge and the courtroom of police officers. “When I do wrong I’m gonna run.”

McKenzie dismissed a charge of simple assault filed by Tommieka Lee against Michael Porter, of 107 Martin Luther King.

The municipal court judge found Kenyada Smalley, 210 Pearson, guilty of possessing drug paraphernalia after hearing testimony from police officers.

Officer Maples said police officers entered a Tubbs Road home where adults and juveniles were smoking marijuana.

Smalley was seated on a couch with “rolling paper” next to him, said the officer.

Prior to court, Smalley had pleaded guilty to giving false information to officers, when he claimed he was a 17-year-old juvenile. He is actually 18, he told the judge.  

Smalley, who waived his right to testify, was assigned to 18 days on the city work program to work off the $994 fines.

“Be at city hall at 6:45 tomorrow to go to work,” McKenzie told the defendant.

In another trial, the city court judge found Ryan Jack Wilkinson guilty of shoplifting from Wal-Mart.
Wilkinson did not show for his appearance and court documents show an attorney was also scheduled to appear on his behalf.

A Wal-Mart employee testified that Wilkinson hid a pistol safe inside a larger ammunition box in the sporting goods department and attempted to purchase the box with the safe inside.

Wilkinson, of 517 McCain, was fined $1,124.  

Other court cases:

Calvin Harrell, 112 Gore Street, pleaded guilty to domestic violence-simple assault and possession of marijuana. He was fined $815.

Crystal Hamilton, 112 Clinton, pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence-simple assault. She was fined $395, due in 30 days.

Cory Nelson, 201 Atkins, Sardis, failed to appear to answer a charge of shoplifting from Wal-Mart. His bonding company was notified.

Erica Harrell, 220 Frederick Street, Sardis, failed to appear to answer a charge of shoplifting from Wal-Mart. Her bonding company was notified.

Karrie Sweat, 23130 Highway 51 North, Sardis, pleaded guilty to taking six items from Wal-Mart. Old fines and the shoplifting fine totaled $1,426, and she was given 30 days to pay.

Justin Popowich, 3038 John Harmon, Sardis, was led away to jail by police officers after pleading guilty to a second count of shoplifting.

McKenzie reminded the defendant he had been told a year and a half ago, after the first shoplifting conviction, that a second offense would land him in jail.

“So you know you’re about to go to jail, don’t you?” McKenzie said.

“No sir,” Popowich replied.

“Well, you are,” McKenzie said.

Derrick Pride, 6084 Curtis Road, paid a $450 contempt of court fine prior to court.

Cases set for trial

A simple assault case was set for trial May 9 after McKenzie heard testimony from defendant Latoya Fondren, 18 Earnestine Turner Street, and affiant Charlene Smith.

Smith told McKenzie that Fondren intentionally hit her automobile on Hoskins Road while Fondren said it was an accident.