Jury finds man guilty in two of three drug-related chargesA Davison County jury found a Mitchell man guilty of two of three drug-related charges Friday after a roughly two-day trial. David W. Richey, 39, was convicted of felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession.
By: Melanie Brandert, The Daily Republic
A Davison County jury found a Mitchell man guilty of two of three drug-related charges Friday after a roughly two-day trial.
David W. Richey, 39, was convicted of felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession. A seven-man, five-woman jury acquitted him of misdemeanor marijuana possession, handing in a verdict in two hours after receiving the case at 12:10 p.m.
Richey pleaded not guilty to the charges in September after being indicted in August for a July 22 incident.
Mitchell police received a Crime Stoppers tip about alleged drug use at Richey’s business — Dave’s Recovery, 719 N. Sanborn Blvd. Officers found drug paraphernalia with cocaine residue during a search.
Doug Barnett, assistant attorney general, who prosecuted the case along with co-counsel Katie Hansen, said they were pleased with the verdict, especially with the conviction on the cocaine charge.
“We were hopeful to get the conviction on the marijuana (charge),” he said. “We certainly respect the jury’s decision.”
As for the acquittal on the marijuana charge, Barnett surmised that jurors just didn’t see enough evidence that Richey knowingly possessed that drug.
“There was more evidence of cocaine than marijuana. We present the case we have,” he said.
After the jury was released, an arraignment hearing occurred in the courthouse for a habitual offender charge that Barnett filed.
Richey has three prior felony convictions — third-degree burglary in Gregory County in March 1990, attempted third-degree burglary in Davison County in May 1993 and misappropriation of funds in March 2003 in Davison County, Barnett said.
Richey denied the habitual defender charge, so a trial date was set for Feb. 23.
If found guilty of being a habitual offender, he could face an enhanced prison sentence of up to 25 years and a $50,000 fine for the cocaine possession charge, Circuit Judge Tim Bjorkman said. Normally, the maximum is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Neither Richey nor his lawyer, Phil Carlson, would comment on the verdict. Carlson also declined comment on the decision to deny the habitual offender charge.
Barnett asked for a $20,000 cash bond given the new felony conviction, habitual offender charge and a felony charge in Kingsbury County.
Carlson maintained that the $2,000 cash bond was suitable because Richey never had a violent felony and was no danger to the community. The lawyer told Bjorkman that his client would plead guilty next month to the insufficient funds check charge in Kingsbury County.
Bjorkman set bond at $10,000 cash. A sheriff’s deputy later took him into custody.
During the trial, the defense rested at 10:05 a.m. after calling the defendant and his brother, Darin, to the stand.
David Richey testified that he had no knowledge of any drugs or paraphernalia that law enforcement found in the upstairs apartment. He said he moved out of it last spring.
Five to seven employees had keys and access to an upstairs apartment where he sometimes lived and his children spent time playing video games, he said.
On cross examination, Barnett showed Richey photos in evidence and asked if he recognized several items, including clothes, furniture, a pipe that tested positive for marijuana, a scale, bags that tested positive for cocaine and marijuana and a box of tinfoil. He denied knowing items with a drug connection.
Richey testified under Barnett’s questioning that he failed to hear several cell phone calls from police nor officers knocking on his girlfriend’s door. He said he was unaware that law enforcement sought him until he received a voice mail while in Gregory to pick up his three older children, who were with family.
During closing arguments, Barnett told the jury that 20 pieces of drug-related items were taken from the apartment, with 10 testing positive for cocaine or marijuana.
He noted that Richey had everything at a table with a poker case to convert powder cocaine to crack cocaine to manufacture it.
“When you consider and recall testimony, consider the source and his motivation to lie. He is going to do anything to save his own neck,” Barnett said of Richey.
Carlson pointed out his client had no knowledge of drugs being used, and other employees had the opportunity to take drugs. He noted that police Det. Dean Knippling did not have DNA swabs tested and investigators found no usable fingerprints to link evidence to Richey.
“The state has not proved he was the one who did any of the stuff Mr. Barnett was talking about,” he said.