Judge declares mistrial in robbery case

May. 30, 2014 @ 05:30 PM

A mistrial was declared in the case of the Henderson resident accused of robbing a South Garnett Street bank after the defendant missed two days of trial because he was hospitalized.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock said the case would be retried at a later date.

“We don’t really have a choice but to declare a mistrial,” he said to the jury Friday. “It is not really practical to continue the trial for Monday because we have no assurance he will be present.”

Johnnie Mack, 56, was arrested Sept. 27, 2013, on a charge of common-law robbery. He pleaded not guilty. Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps is the prosecutor.

Mack’s attorney, Scott Hamilton, said Mack’s wife found her husband lying on the kitchen floor Thursday morning. She told Hamilton her husband was delusional.

Defendants have a constitutional right to be present at all stages of the trial unless their absence is determined to be voluntary.

Lock said the court deemed Mack’s absence involuntary.

The case would be placed on Vance County’s criminal court calendar for July 7, Capps said.

“The state intends to retry this case,” she said Friday.

Capps said double jeopardy — the unlawful prosecution of a person twice for the same offense — does not apply in this case because the grand jury indicted Mack for attempted common-law robbery.

Should the grand jury indict him again, it would be for common-law robbery, she said.

Catalina Wood, the only bank teller working when the robbery occurred, testified as a witness for the state Wednesday.

She said she noticed a strange-looking man walk into the Bank of America around 4:15 p.m., and he handed her a note demanding all her money.

Wood said she began putting money into the man’s pocket book. Without the man noticing, she said she placed a money packet with a GPS tracker inside.

The tracking device, which immediately notified the Henderson Police Department and Bank of America of the robbery, led officers to 316 Gary St., Henderson.

Police officers located Mack at 316 Gary St. where they arrested him.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.