TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

February 23, 2012

Second day in Fritts federal trial

ATF agent testifies about sale of shotgun from former sheriff Hodge’s office


TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — Feb. 23, 2012.pdf

By Carl Keith Greene/Staff Writer

Tuesday was the second day of the federal court trial of Doyle (aka “Stan-Boy”) Fritts and his brother, Jerry Fritts.

Todd Tremaine, an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, took the stand to tell about the sale of a shotgun that had apparently come from the office of former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Sam Dotson brought up with Tremaine that James Meredith had reported to Charles Fritts that a shotgun was available to sell.

In the process of selling the gun by Charles Fritts to Larry West, of Monticello, his brother Doyle Fritts watched the sale.

Once Doyle Fritts was arrested he claimed vigorously that he did not even touch the gun at the sale of it.

Recordings of telephone calls he made from the Pulaski County Detention Center were played with him telling his mother and others that he had nothing to do with the sale of the gun.

The sale to Larry West occurred sometime in February 2011, said Tremaine.

On April 4, 2011, Tremaine had learned about the gun sale and contacted West and asked for the shotgun. Larry West was not at home and he asked his wife to provide it. When Larry West got home he found that the gun his wife had given Tremaine was not the Chinese shotgun. So he called Tremaine and told him that the first gun was wrong and Tremaine exchanged the two.

Prior to the gun sale, Doyle Fritts had been arrested on March 9 and on March 21, Jerry Fritts had been turned in by his lawyer.

During cross examination of Tremaine by Eric Edwards, Doyle Fritts’ attorney, Tremaine was asked about forensic examinations to determine if Doyle Fritts had handled the gun.

Tremaine explained that he had never been able to get good finger prints on guns in the 11 years he’s been in the ATF.

Edwards also quoted Doyle Fritts in recordings played in court of his telephone calls to his mother, Larry West and others in which he routinely said he, being a felon, had not handled the gun in the process of the sale.

Earlier in the afternoon, John Ed Kanter, who is in custody in the McCreary County Detention Center, was called as a witness.

Under Dotson’s questioning, Kanter said he’d known the Fritts family since they were kids.

Asked if he had gotten drugs from Doyle Fritts he answered “yes.”

He said he usually gets them from Charles Fritts.

One day to get drugs he went to the home of Jack Scott Douglas at Hemlock Subdivision in Whitley County when he couldn’t get the drugs for the Frittses.

Kanter called himself an addict for about nine years who used pain medicine as well as cocaine.

At Hemlock, Kanter said he got three to eight pills for Doyle Fritts.

Edwards brought up the subject of Kanter buying pills from Doyle Fritts. He said he bought his drugs from someone else because Doyle Fritts didn’t have any.

Jerry Fritts’ lawyer Michael Murphy asked Kanter about his using pills and he replied that he took as many as seven or eight 30-milligram pills daily. He said he had to take that much “just to live, not get high.”

Jack Scott Douglas came to the witness stand.

Dotson began asking about Doyle Fritts and Jerry Fritts and their purchase of pills.

He said since December 2008 they bought daily, sometimes one, sometimes two and sometimes 10, 20 or 30 pills.

They usually bought 15-milligram pills at about $10 each and 30-milligram pills $20 to $25 each.

That lasted about three years until they were arrested.

The trial continues Thursday.