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Jury can't reach verdict in Tamaqua man's trial

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

A jury could not decide the innocent's or guilt of Raymond William Yocum, 53, of 35 Pine St., Tamaqua, charged with delivery of a controlled substance and possessin with intent to deliver a controlled substance to an confidential informant for the Tamaqua police last summer after a two day trial in the Schuylkill County Courthouse.

The jury retired at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to begin deliberating, ate lunch, and around 2 p.m. returned to the courtroom with a question concerning the legal interpretation "beyond a reasonable cause."

Attorney Paul Levi, representing Yocum, asked the court to also instruct the jury that testimony of police officers should be considered in the same vein as testimony of a private citizens and not given any extra consideration. The trial judge, Cyrus Palmer Dolbin, in instrucing the jury as to the legal definition of "beyond a reasonable doubt" also included Levi's request.

The jury returned to the deliberation room but a short time sent a message to the judge stating they were deadlocked at 10 to 2 and could not reach a unanimous decision. Dolbin summoned them to the courtroom and asked if a little more time to deliberate would help and their response was negative. The vote did not indicate which way the jury was leaning and were not asked. Dolbin declared the case a mistrial, dismissed the jury and thanked them for their services and ordered to case returned to the district attorney's trial list for future consideration.

The case was not the usual illegal drug transaction for money. The testimony by Commonwealth witnesses was that it was an exchange of drugs for a CB microphone. The informant, who had aided the Tamaqua police in convicting at least five drug dealers or users, contacted the police claiming he was offered drugs. Another unusual aspect of the case was that the informant and defendant have know each other for about 35 years and had done odd jobs together.

Borough police, under direction of Sgt. Richard Weaver, set up the buy. Weaver and Patrolman Anthony Stanell followed the informant on June 26, 2008, to Yocum's residence, saw Yocum come out and cross the street to the informant's truck, lean against an open door window and then walk away with a microphone. The police said they did not see the exchange of the drugs between the two men as they were seated in an unmarked vehicle about 20 feet away.

Yocum's defense was that he was setup by the informant who was paid $20 for making the alleged buy. Yocum claimed a day or two prior to the incident the informant picked him up and they drove around the area. He claims the vial containing the pills was the one he lost, "probably in the truck" according to his testimony. He denied offering to buy the microphone with drugs.

The informant, in rebuttal, denied picking up Yocum and claimed he never called inquiring about missing drugs.

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