First Day of Testimony in Charles Smith Trial
Published May 2nd, 2012
Today was the first day of testimony in the Charles Smith trial.
He is charged with stealing from the evidence room of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
Eight jurors heard opening statements here in this Alachua County courtroom.
"It'll become clear that this had be an inside job," said Mark Peterson.
Prosecutor Peterson argued the gate into the high profile evidence room would not secure properly back when Smith was employed.
He said over a period of time Smith pushed the door to loosen the bolts.
"That's how Charles Smith was able to get in the room,without a second person to watch him," said Peterson.
He believes that's how Smith took $16,000 in cash several years ago from that room.
Defense attorney Gloria Fletcher argued another employee had the power to duplicate keys.
"So if somebody went to him to have a key duplicated, we don't know how many he duplicated," said Fletcher.
In that high profile room there was evidence from the Waldo Police Department, including about $9,00. The paperwork for this case also disappeared.
"When i turn it over to them they take the yellow sheet and go item one. Item one is a pill bottle containing 30 pills. They look at that they verify there's 30 pills and they check off that portion of it. So they go through and we verify, not only do I verify, but they sit there and say yes that item is there and sign off that they have received it," said Waldo Police Chief Mike Zsabo.
Smith's attorney questioned the procedure of counting drugs and cash.
"They don't open it and physical count it,they rely on the sheet that's there,"asked the defense attorney.
"They rely on the sheet that's there, that the money is there and that that amount is there," said Zsabo.
When former evidence supervisor Rose Marie Knowles took the stand, she explained the procedure they had to follow when entering the high profile room.
"You take out in from the lockers with a second person that is not one of three employees of the evidence room. You check it in with that person and then you store it in the high profile. They don't leave you until it's stored away," said Knowles.
She mentioned four people who were responsible for entering the room with one of the evidence employees.
According to Knowles, the four employees had keys to the high profile evidence room, but not the main evidence room.
By: Yaremi Farinas
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