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Barnesville man's trial ends with hung jury

Published September 07. 2011 05:01PM

After two hours of deliberation a jury was deadlocked in the case of a Barnesville man who was on trial in Schuylkill County court for alleged traffic in drugs. Presiding Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin delcared a mistrial.

Michael James Stewart Jr., 42, of 42 Williams St., was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possesssion, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

State Troopers from Troop L Vice Squad, which works out of Reading, testified on May 20, 2009, they went to 288 Wood St., Cumbola, with a search warrant as they were informed drugs were being sold from this home.

The troopers testified after knocking on the door and when nobody answered in two minutes they broke in and began a search of the premises. Stewart was found in the bathroom on the second floor and they managed to recover a large amount of vegetable matter from the toilet, which was identified by the state police crime lab as marijuana.

The troopers reported recovering 1.3 pounds of marijuana, a scale, small baggies, pack of rubber bands and $950 in cash found under a matress in a bedroom. The troopers said this indicated an operation for selling drugs.

Steward took the witness stand and denied the charges. He gave a hard luck story of losing his job because he tested positive for drugs, his girlfriend left him and the money found were his savings. He said he rented the home in Cumbola where he and his friends smoked marijuana. "I admit being a user but not a dealer," he told the jury. He testified he has now straightened himself out and is again working.

After two hours of deliberation the jury returned to the courtroom and told Judge Dolbin they were hopelessly deadlocked and could not reach a verdict and that further deliberation would not be fruitful. They were discharged and the case was returned to the district attorney's trial list.

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