A mistrial was declared in the case of Frederick Anthony Postie, 42, of 626 Fairview St., Tamaqua (Rush Township), after several hours of testimony was heard by a jury in Schuylkill County court on Monday.
Postie received another break when the district attorney chose to prosecute him on only four of the seven burglary charges he had been cited by Rush Sgt. Duane Frederick.
The mistrial was caused by a statement made on the witness stand by Postie's former girlfriend, Stepheny Kech, who was called by the Commonwealth to testify against him.
The ending occurred shortly after the trial resumed for the afternoon session. Kech testified Postie was best man at her first wedding and later they became friends which developed into a relationship but ended "when he went to jail."
Immediately Public Defender Christophber Hobbs, counsel for Postie, asked for a side bar conference which included Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Lehman, prosecuting the case.
At the side bar Hobbs presented his argument to trial Judge John E. Domalakes asking for a mistrial because the remark made by Kech was prejudicial to his client receiving a fair trial. Domalakes granted the motion and dismissed the jury and the case was returned to the trial list.
Originally Postie was cited with seven burglaries of homes in the township but when the trial got under way Lehman told the jury the Commonwealth was seeking conviction of four burglary, criminal trespass, theft, criminal mischief, and criminal conspiracy charges. Two others charged with the same crimes were to testify against Postie but the trial never reached that stage.
The four homes that were burglarized were all vacant homes from which large amounts of copper pipes, copper wire, parts of oil and coal boilers, and electrical equipment. Those items were removed causing several thousand dollars in damages.
In the opening statements made to the jury as the trial began Monday morning Lehman told the jury she would produce testimony showing Postie was one of three charged with the removable of the items from the homes.
Hobbs told the jury he would ask the jury to bring in a not-guilty verdict because the Commonwealth has no physical evidence to show Postie was a participant, there were no witnesses seeing anyone enter or leave the homes with the stolen property and the two other men charged with the same crimes who were to testified against Postie have criminal records and "cut a sweet deal" with the Commonwealth for their testimony.
The four properties which were stripped were at 474 Fairview St., 458 Fairview St., and 714 and 716 Claremont Ave.
Owners testified as to what was removed and contractors hired to restore the missing items testified as to the costs that ran into thousands of dollars.
After the jury left the courtroom a deputy sheriff came up from in back of the courtroom and placed cuffs on Pontie's hands and took him back to the county prison where he has been residing since his arrest.
Lehman said she would retry Postie in October.