Roy Hersley's trial, which began Tuesday, ended with two convictions: Theft and dealing over 30 grams of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a city park. It also ended with an acquittal of conspiracy to deal in a controlled substance.
Tuesday's trial began with Decatur County Prosecutor Jim Rosenberry's examination of Det. Bill Meyerrose and other officers involved with Hersley's investigation.
Rosenberry continued Wednesday by calling Bob Barker, Superintendent of Decatur County Parks and Recreation, to the stand. Rosenberry's questioning focused on the park next to the current Decatur County Sheriff headquarters, the park that was within 1,000 feet of the trailer where Hersley allegedly dealt marijuana to an undercover police officer June 10, 2010. Barker confirmed the location of the park and that it was associated with Decatur County Park and Rec. Hersley's defense attorney, Steven Teverbaugh, had no questions for Barker.
Rosenberry also called Gary Murray, City Engineer for the city of Greensburg, who provided an overhead picture of the park in question, on which he digitally placed a circle with a scaled, 1,000 feet radius, which showed that the location of the drug deal on June 10 was within 1,000 feet of the park. During his cross examination, Teverbaugh asked Murray if there was a margin of error in the computer-generated map. Murray confirmed that there was, due to the curvature of the earth, however that margin was slight.
Rosenberry then called Greensburg Police Chief Stacey Chasteen, who was Assistant Chief during the time of Hersley's investigation. Rosenberry inquired of the nature of evidence storage at the police station, particularly of the marijuana that was used in the drug deal.
Next, Jon Oldham, investigator with the prosecutor's office, who's also trained in marijuana identification, explained the extent to which he tested the two bags of marijuana involved in the case, affirming that the substance in each bag was, in fact, marijuana. Oldham also confirmed that the combined weight of the two bags was 50.2 grams. Teverbaugh asked Oldham what the water weight of the marijuana was. Oldham said he had no idea what that meant.
Rosenberry's next witness was one of the undercover officers during the investigation who confirmed that Hersley was the person present during the drug deal on June 10 and the theft and alleged conspiracy to deal in a controlled substance on June 23.
After questioning the witness, the State rested.
Teverbaugh had no evidence or witnesses. Hersley decided not to testify.
Rosenberry gave his closing statement, in which he explained the legal definition of dealing or delivery, which he said is the actual transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance. He also explained the definition of theft.
Teverbaugh began his opening statement by saying he didn't disagree with the facts of the case, just the charges. He explained that Hersley did not deal drugs and only had possession of the drugs for 30 seconds, between taking them from the trailer to the person in the vehicle.
"If I pull my cell phone out and give it to you, am I a dealer? No," he said.
Teverbaugh also explained his defense about the conspiracy to deal and theft charges.
"Was his plan to steal (the money) or take it in and buy drugs," he said. "It can't be both."
Teverbaugh explained that Hersley was only guilty of visiting a common nuisance, a misdemeanor, and therefore the charges should be dropped.
After hearing the closing statements, the jury was dismissed to deliberate. During the course of the jurors' deliberation, which lasted about two hours, they sent a note to the judge asking what they should do if 11 of them were voting guilty and one was voting not guilty. Judge Matt Bailey, told them to deliberate further. In the end, the jury voted that Hersley was guilty of the charges of dealing marijuana and theft. But he was not guilty of the charges of conspiracy to deal in a controlled substance.
After the convictions and the acquittal, the jury had to stick around and decide whether or not Hersley was considered an habitual offender and an habitual substance offender based on past offenses. The juror heard from more witnesses, and deliberated further. After about 10 minutes the jury concluded that Hersley was an habitual offender and an habitual substance offender.
Chief Chasteen said she was happy with the overall outcome of the trial.
"I think this shows that the community isn't going to tolerate these kinds of crimes. The jury put a lot of time into the trial," she said. "This is definitely a successful outcome. I think the habitual offender decision also shows that having a long list of crimes will not be tolerated. The jury spoke loud and clear today."
Hersley's sentencing is set for April 20.