Man on parole for selling drugs acquitted of similar crime

Man on parole for selling drugs acquitted of similar crime

URBANA — A Champaign County jury Thursday acquitted a man on parole for selling drugs of doing the same thing.

The jury deliberated about four hours before acquitting Martez Taylor, 27, of six counts of delivery of heroin that allegedly occurred between Feb. 21 and May 23 in Champaign.

For three days, the jury heard detailed descriptions of the sales of the small amounts of heroin to two different informants working with members of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force.

Testimony from police revealed that Taylor enlisted his heroin-addicted uncle to make deliveries in four of the controlled buys; Taylor was accused of making the actual deliveries in two.

All happened in the Dobbins Downs subdivision in northwest Champaign, where Taylor was living in a house on Queens Way Drive.

The informants told the jury they were heroin users who got hooked on the drug after their prescriptions for pain medication ran out. Both men referred to injuries they sustained that led them to the highly addictive drug.

Both testified they agreed to work with police in hopes of getting consideration for crimes they had committed. Both said they called the same number to arrange their purchases from Taylor. On some occasions, Taylor's uncle took their order on that phone.

After documenting the six controlled buys, task force members sought and were granted a search warrant for Taylor's Queens Way home.

Task force Officer Cully Schweska testified that as colleagues were conducting the court-authorized search of the home May 26, he followed Taylor, who had left the house in a Cadillac sport utility vehicle. Taylor was stopped at a store on North Prospect Avenue and arrested.

Police found $2,885 cash on him and a receipt in the SUV for an oil change indicating that the vehicle belonged to Taylor. They found no drugs or a cellphone on him or in the car, Schweska said.

Meantime, task force Officer Jim Kerner testified that he encountered an older man in the house who identified himself as Taylor's uncle. The man said he had been released from the hospital a day earlier.

That man told Kerner that he met with Taylor daily to get several single-dose packs of heroin to sell and that he made deliveries as directed by Taylor. He was paid for his work in heroin and cash, Kerner related.

That man was never criminally charged, a subject that defense attorney Alfred Ivy repeatedly returned to in his questioning of the police officers.

Ivy questioned the officers on whether they confirmed that the older man was actually Taylor's uncle and they said they had not, taking him at his word. Besides, the officers testified, the man was seen in surveillance videos making deliveries to the informants, which was consistent with his explanation of the work he did for Taylor.

Another officer, Nick Krippel, testified that police found mail addressed to Taylor in the Queens Way house, a digital scale and five boxes of sandwich bags, typically used in the packaging of small amounts of drugs. However, police found no drugs in the house.

Taylor is currently on parole for a 2016 conviction for possession with intent to deliver cocaine for which he was sentenced to five years in prison. He received boot camp and completed it but was taken back into custody by parole agents after his arrest May 26.

Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton prosecuted Taylor, who has other convictions for possession with intent to deliver cannabis, possession of a controlled substance and obstructing justice.

Judge Tom Difanis presided.

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GLG wrote on December 15, 2017 at 10:12 am

Just exactly what  does Julia Reitz States Attorney do??

Does she do any prosecutions or just walk around the court house with empty file folders in her hand?