Several hiccups along a journey to bring a witness to the stand in an armed robbery trial led to the jury being dismissed early Monday and a possible plea deal in the works.
Ithemas L. Anderson, 49, is accused of hold-ups at three motels and a convenience store in August 2015. He allegedly tried to cash in a stolen lottery ticket Sept. 1, 2015.
Angie Smith testified she worked with Anderson at Ole Times Country Buffet, and recognized him from videos of the robberies posted to Facebook. She and another woman who recognized him then went to Glynn County Police headquarters, where she said they viewed a better-quality video and again identified Anderson.
One of the ways Smith said she identified Anderson was in one of the videos, he was wearing an older-style Ole Times hat, which was the kind provided to staff when she said they worked together.
Defense attorney Grayson Lane objected to the woman’s testimony, saying prosecutors never informed him they intended to call her. Assistant District Attorney Liberty Stewart said she instructed her assistant last week to email Lane. Stewart also had the email printed out and submitted to the court during trial Monday, but Lane said the email application on his computer has not worked in around three weeks, and he has not had the time to address the problem.
Stewart said she was not given the case until Nov. 7, and did not find out about Smith’s statements until talking with police, because investigators did not create reports on the statements. Hence, one of the only ways Lane could have learned about Smith’s statements or prosecutors’ intentions would be the email that he was unable to obtain.
Glynn County Superior Court Judge Roger Lane ruled the defense could interview the two women before cross-examining them. However, the direction of the trial was not immediately clear at the time the judge sent the jury home Monday afternoon.
Attorneys for both sides had further discussions about a plea deal, tentatively agreeing to guilty pleas that would result in prosecutors recommending Anderson receive a sentence of 10 years in prison and 25 years probation. Judge Lane said he was not predisposed to granting the plea agreement, but that he would entertain arguments for the negotiated plea shortly before the trial is set to resume at 8:30 a.m. today.