Warrent issued for key witnessStark County issued a warrant for the arrest of a key witness in several drug cases in Stark County who is missing, State’s Attorney Tom Henning said at a hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Stark County issued a warrant for the arrest of a key witness in several drug cases in Stark County who is missing, State’s Attorney Tom Henning said at a hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Charges against Stacey Thornton, who was scheduled for a pretrial conference Tuesday, were part of a large drug bust in July which resulted in 17 arrests.
Thornton is charged for allegedly delivering five morphine pills to Douglas Johnson in July.
Johnson was also charged, but charges were dismissed because the confidential informant is missing, according to court records.
After the hearing, Henning said he is unsure if Johnson, or others whose charges may be dismissed because of the missing informant, will be recharged.
“That’s possible,” Henning said. “At this stage it’s too soon to say but any cases that have been dismissed for insufficient evidence and the insufficiency was because he was unavailable, I’d have to reconsider that.”
The confidential informant, who was part of many of the 17 arrests has been missing since September, authorities say.
Southwest District Judge William Herauf granted a three-week continuance on a pretrial for Thornton during her Tuesday hearing.
However, he said it would be the last time an extension would be allowed in the case.
Mary Nordsven, Thornton’s attorney, objected to continuing the pretrial.
“I guess I think it’s time to move on,” Nordsven said. “How much longer are we going to wait for this person, whoever he is?”
She added the plea agreement Henning offered was unacceptable.
The warrant for the missing informant was issued late last week, Henning said after the hearing. He is unsure whether the informant has been located.
It’s unclear if the informant will be forced to testify, Henning said.
“Until I have the guy to talk to him, I really can’t answer that either,” Henning said. “I figure if they can’t get him back here in time for three weeks down the road, we aren’t going to see him.”
Henning expects the informant knew he was obligated to testify.
“At this point I’m kind of saying ‘well what happened here that you would cut off contact?” Henning said. “I can’t imagine that it would result in me saying ‘well all the cases are going away then.’”