Robbery suspect returns to trial

Jul. 08, 2014 @ 08:00 PM

 

A 56-year-old Henderson resident is on trial in Vance County for the robbery of a Bank of America following a mistrial involving similar charges in May.

A mistrial was declared in the case of Johnnie Mack after he was hospitalized and missed two days of court.

Defendants have a constitutional right to be present at all stages of the trial unless their absence is determined by a judge to be voluntary, and the court deemed Mack’s absence involuntary.

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, according to Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps, who represents the state.

When the grand jury indicted him a second time, it was for common-law robbery, which is a separate charge.

On Tuesday, Mack appeared in Vance County Court with his lawyer, Scott Hamilton.

He requested the presiding Judge Allen Baddour appoint him a new lawyer in the case.

“I would just like a fair trial,” he said in court, adding he did not believe Hamilton would provide the best defense in his case. “I don’t think my lawyer is trying as hard as he should be.”

Baddour denied Mack’s motion for a new lawyer.

The state called witnesses Tuesday, including Catalina Wood — the bank teller when the robbery occurred — and Henderson police officers who responded to the incident on Sept. 27.

Wood 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 pocketbook. 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 that address where they arrested him.

Closing statements could begin Wednesday, July 9.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.