By Michael R. Moser
For the second time, a Cumberland County woman attempted to fire a court-appointed attorney with a trial just weeks away. But finding a way might be the least of her legal troubles. A sheriff's deputy served her with a warrant on a new charge in the courtroom.
It took place last Friday before Judge David Patterson in Cumberland County Criminal Court.
Melanie Nichole Lewis, 20, of Lawson Rd., stood before Patterson with attorney Jeff Vires at her side, and a trial date on a sale and delivery of less than .5 grams of methamphetamine set for March 22. She also has a second charge of the same offense on the docket.
Lewis had even picked out the attorney that she wanted the court to appoint for her.
"Not going to happen," responded Patterson. The judge then questioned the timing of her attempt to dismiss Vires, who the judge described as a very capable and competent attorney who would serve her well.
Previously she had succeeded in getting the Public Defender's Office taken off her case and at which time Vires was appointed.
After a strong expression of what he expected to see happen, Patterson told Lewis he was continuing both of her meth cases to March 5 "for a plea, or it will be tried. I am not telling you you should plea or not plea. What I am saying is, there needs to be some resolution to this case or we will be in trial on March 22."
Patterson added that Lewis was free to hire whomever she pleased, but that the trial date was set.
As Lewis turned to walk away from the podium, she found a sheriff's deputy standing with a warrant in his hand. The officer motioned for her to walk to where inmates were sitting, and then she was escorted to booking.
The new charge is theft of services with a bond of $2,500. She will appear before Judge Larry Warner. The warrant was signed by Crosville Police Sgt. Bart Riden and accuses Lewis of checking into the Comfort Suites on Dec. 25 and staying for nine days before leaving without paying a $1,392.57 bill.
In other cases on the docket, the following took place:
Set for trial
•Mikell Tony Tasker, possession of a prohibited weapon, theft of more than $1,000 and sale of schedule drugs, motion hearing set for March 5; set for trial March 7.
•Andria Michelle Sauer, aggravated burglary, forgery and passing a forged instrument, motion hearing set for March 5; set for trial March 21.
•John Dallas Brown, two counts of passing a forged instrument, bond set at $40,000; trial set for March 27.
•Travis Leo Howard, theft of more than $60,000, motion hearing set for March 5; set for trial March 27.
•William Dean Howard, theft of more than $60,000, motion hearing set for March 5; set for trial March 27.
•Justin Lee Rose, seven count of aggravated burglary, four counts of theft of more than $1,000, theft of more than $500 and theft, motion hearing set for March 5; set for trial March 28.
•Kelly William Demoe, aggravated child abuse, motion hearing set for March 5 at 1 p.m.; trial set for March 29.
•Jessie M. Smallwood, sale of more than .5 grams of cocaine and possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell, motion hearing set for March 5; set for trial March 29.
•Adrian Kathleen Dietrich, burglary and theft of more than $1,000, set for trial March 30.
•Denny Ray Garrison, promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon and tampering, set for trial April 18.
•Christie Sue Horn, possession of methamphetamine for sale and/or delivery, possession of marijuana for sale and/or delivery, promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and child endangerment, set for trial April 25. Simple possession of a schedule II drug and driving on a revoked license, continued to April 25.
•Gregory Thomas Horn, possession of methamphetamine for sale and/or delivery, possession of marijuana for sale and/or delivery, promotion of the manufacture of meth and child endangerment, set for trial April 25. Initiation of the process to manufacture meth, tampering with evidence and reckless driving, continued to April 25.
•Aaron Joseph Ewing, rape, set for trial April 26. Theft of more than $500, continued to April 26.