Mistrial granted in burglary case

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 1, 2004

A mistrial was declared before a burglary and conspiracy trialgot under way Thursday, and two defendants are facing obstructionof justice charges over alleged witness intimidation.

Brothers Quebec and Curtis Smith, both 19 of 2785 Mill Road, andEric Williams, age and address unavailable, were scheduled fortrial in connection with a March 21 burglary at Brooks Apartments.However, following jury selection, questions surfaced about theunavailability of a witness and new evidence which the defense hadnot had a chance to review.

With the jury outside the courtroom, representatives of districtattorney’s office and defense attorneys conferred with Judge KeithStarrett before the defense requested a mistrial in the case.Starrett reluctantly granted the motion.

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“This is not something I like to do,” Starrett said.

However, citing questions about the absent witness and the newevidence, Starrett said the case was not in a position to go totrial. He said it would be best for both sides if they trial werepostponed.

“There are too many unanswered questions,” Starrett said.

Following the ruling, Starrett advised attorneys to make sureall evidence discovery is completed. Jurors then returned to thecourtroom and were excused.

“We’ll have to start with a new jury at another time,” Starrettsaid.

After the court activity, Quebec and Curtis Smith were arrestedby the Brookhaven Police Department and charged with obstruction ofjustice. They remained in jail this morning.