Judge convicts man on multiple counts
By Janelle Patterson
The Marietta Times
The trial for accused drug dealer Anthony Dwayne Mack, 36, of Columbus, resulted in multiple guilty verdicts in Washington County Common Pleas Court Tuesday.
Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi presided over the trial Tuesday and found Mack guilty of having weapons under a disability, a third-degree felony, possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, and trafficking in heroin, fifth-degree felony.
Mack also pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of recognizance in exchange for the third fourth-degree felony count of the same offense to be dropped.
The premise of the trial hinged on the credibility of the prosecution’s final witness, Trista Bates, of Marietta, who was with Mack on the day of his arrest. But Mack’s defense attorney, Rolf Baumgartel argued that her word could not be trusted to be truthful.
“There is a very reasonable alternative to what the state has presented here,” argued Baumgartel in closing. “What I’m urging this court to do is not simply jump to stereotypes… What credibility does she really have? We just know that she’s a well-spoken and that she’s an attractive young lady.”
Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Joe Derkin led the arguments in the trial by the bench Tuesday against Mack and Mack’s attorney Rolf Baumgartel.
A bench trial is not common in Washington County. In this type of trial, where the defendant waives his or her right to be tried before a jury, the defendant instead rests his or her fate solely in the hands of the presiding judge. Mack said he chose to do this Monday to avoid a 12-person jury assuming his guilt based upon his skin color.
The three original charges stemmed from what Lt. Kevin Hornbeck, of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, testified was a drug raid at 421 Mechanics St., Macksburg, on Feb. 9, 2015.
“We had evidence that Anthony Mack had been holed up at that residence and was selling heroin out of that residence,” testified Hornbeck. “We found once they removed Mr. Mack from the bed, there was a stainless steel handgun tucked in a chair (and) located in the kitchen there was white substance on a plate… containing what we call a paper fold of heroin.”
Bates further testified that the gun tucked between the pullout-couch’s cushions and armrest was owned by Mack and that Mack on more than one occasion had provided heroin to her.
She testified that she had seen Mack sell heroin on multiple locations, including in Washington County and that he had provided her with heroin on the night before the raid.
Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Josh Staats, the current head of the Major Crimes Task Force, also testified concerning the raid of Mack’s Macksburg home and an interview which was recorded and played in court Tuesday.
In the recording Mack not only corrected Staats on the location of the gun in his home but also explained that there was “nobody bigger than me” in Washington County selling heroin.
“All I do is introduce people to people,” said Mack on the recording. “If I’d be selling, I’d have more on me.”
Kerenyi took approximately one hour to deliberate before finding Mack guilty of all three original charges and remanding Mack into the custody of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Mack will remain in the Washington County Jail until sentencing Nov. 1 at 8:30 a.m. in Kerenyi’s court. He faces up to eight years in prison on all of the charges.
At a glance
¯Anthony Dwayne Mack, 36, of Columbus, was found guilty of the following in Washington County Common Pleas Court Tuesday:
¯ Having weapons under a disability, a third-degree felony.
¯ Possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony.
¯ Trafficking in heroin, a fifth-degree felony.
¯ Mack also pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of recognizance, both fourth-degree felonies, and the third breach charge was dropped by the prosecution.
¯ Mack will be sentenced Nov. 1 at 8:30 a.m. and was remanded into the custody of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to be held without bond until that time.
Source: Washington County Common Pleas Court