Prosecutors question drug claim by witness

WARREN — The cross-examination of a defense witness, which took up most of the day Thursday, has delayed the end of a drug trafficking trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Closing arguments are scheduled at 9 a.m. today in the trial of Vincent Richardson Jr., 27, 3348 Red Fox Run Drive, Warren, who is facing nine felony drug charges stemming from a May 30, 2018, raid on a Hamilton Street SW home by members of the Warren Police Street Crimes Unit.

Members of the unit testified to finding more than 4 grams each of heroin and crack cocaine, plus other drugs at the house, which was owned by the defendant.

Defense witness Justin Schubert, 33, a Trumbull County jail prisoner who testified Wednesday the drugs found by police at the house were his, faced extensive questioning by Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Charles Morrow, who also showed the jury of seven women and five men a 45-minute video of Schubert being questioned by police after the drug raid. Schubert at the time had rented the home from Richardson, who was the landlord of the Hamilton Street home.

On the stand, Schubert also denied knowing Richardson’s nickname, but Morrow showed on the video that Schubert had used the nickname “Stacks” when responding to police questioning.

Under cross-examination, Schubert said he left the house about 10 minutes before the raid. When Morrow asked him who had sold him the drugs, Schubert declined to say.

In response to Morrow’s question acknowledging that Schubert could go to prison for this admission, he said, “I can’t let somebody else go away because of me.”

Schubert, during cross-examination, gave long-winded responses despite continual admonitions by Judge Peter J. Kontos that the witness should just give simple “yes” or “no” answers.

No other witnesses were called by defense attorney William Norman.

The jury is expected to start deliberating later today after closing arguments. If found guilty of all charges, Richardson could face up to 18 years in prison.