TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Whitley County Sheriff Investigation

February 28, 2012

Jury begins deliberations Monday

Witnesses conclude testimonies; attorneys give final remarks in Fritts trial

CORBIN — Feb 28, 2012.pdf

By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer

A federal court jury left the U.S. Courthouse at about 7:15 p.m. Monday in London after discussing the case of Doyle Stanford Fritts (aka Stan-Boy) and Jerry Lee Fritts.

The jury is expected to return to deliberation about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The brothers’ case went to the jury about 5:20 p.m. Monday.

A week before, on Tuesday, the trial began.

The Fritts brothers had been charged with five counts in an indictment filed Jan. 5.

The brothers were charged together in count one for conspiring to distribute pills containing oxycodone.

Count two charged Doyle Fritts with distributing oxycodone pills

Both were charged in count three with distributing oxycodone pills.

Count four charged Doyle Fritts with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Chinese model 12-gauge shotgun.

The shotgun had reportedly been part of firearms possessed by former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge.

And count five charged Doyle Fritts with conspiring to influence, delay and prevent testimony in a trial.

In the wrap-up of witnesses, Michael Murphy, Jerry Fritts’ lawyer, brought lawyer Greta Price, who practices in Whitley County, to the stand.

She was asked by Murphy if Jerry Fritts had contacted her while he was doing floor work in Tennessee.

At that point, Jerry Fritts had learned that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

She arranged for him to turn himself in to authorities.

Then, Gerry Lynn Bunch, of Corbin, was put on the stand. She said she had lived in Corbin for the past six years. In earlier testimony it was discussed that Doyle Fritts had gotten oxycodone tablets from a woman named Gerry Lynn in Jellico, Tenn., between Dec. 2008 and March, 4, 2011.

The Corbin Gerry Lynn testified that she hadn’t distributed oxycodone.

She was followed by J.J. Hatmaker, assistant police chief in Jellico, Tenn., who said he did not know a Gerry Lynn Bunch in Jellico.

The defense rested and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Dotson began the attorneys’ closing remarks to the jury.

He began by explaining how the Fritts brothers began by conspiring to sell oxycodone.

Dotson said in distributing the drugs the pair knew and voluntarily were selling the pills and both agreed to sell the drugs by conspiring.

He added that Scott Douglas, who had testified earlier, had furnished oxycodone to the conspiracy, supplying Doyle Fritts daily.

Jerry Bunch, who also had testified earlier, said Doyle Fritts had gotten oxycodone from the Hemlock subdivision home where Scott Douglas had lived, Dotson said.

Dotson continued that Michael Murphy had said that Jerry Fritts wasn’t involved in the drug sales.

Dotson said Jerry Fritts was involved in a 15-pill sale, which is named in the indictment.

Dotson finished with count four of the indictment noting that Doyle Fritts is a convicted felon and therefore cannot handle a firearm.

Eric Edwards, lawyer for Doyle Fritts, continued, reminding the jury that the United States carries the burden of proof in the trial.

He continued with count two, discussing two drug transactions Feb. 25, 2011, in which Doyle Fritts sold three pills and a second on March 4, 2011, when he sold 15 pills.

Both of those incidents were oxycodone sales that did not include Doyle Fritts’ brother Jerry Fritts, Edwards told the jury.

He continued with explaining count one and the conspiracy to distribute the oxycodone pills.

The conspiracy requires mutual understanding between Doyle Fritts and Jerry Fritts, he explained and noted that the U.S. trying to make a connection in that conspiracy just doesn’t work.

The conspiracy allegedly began in Dec. 2008 and went to March 4, 2011. Much of that time Jerry Fritts had been incarcerated and, from being locked up, couldn’t have been active in the conspiracy, Edwards said.

He then brought up count four and noted the three elements mentioned by Dotson.

When the sale of the shotgun was over, Edwards said, the money probably went to Charles Fritts, the brother of Doyle and Jerry Fritts, Edwards said.

Edwards completed his closing saying there is not enough proof to make Doyle Fritts guilty.

Murphy opened his closing by saying it is a “very important day for Jerry Fritts.”

He told the jury, “Every defendant must be separated from others and judged.”

Murphy said other than the first count charging conspiracy was count three charging Jerry Fritts and Doyle Fritts in the 15-pill sale on March 4, 2011.

Murphy added that Doyle Fritts and Charles Fritts were selling pills, “but Jerry wasn’t” and did not supply pills to Doyle Fritts for him to sell,

In wrapping up his closing, Murphy told the jury reasonable doubt is based on reason and common sense. Proof means proof so convincing you would not have to rely on it for life’s important decisions.

Dotson then finished the closing by discussing some of the issues that Edwards and Murphy had mentioned in their closings.

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