Drug case heads to grand jury after judge reverses decision to postpone

GUILFORD – A felony hearing became the scene of prolonged legal debate Tuesday night in the Town of Guilford Court, with the judge reversing a decision that would have led to the release of two defendants. During the hearing, prosecutors also admitted to the possible accidental loss of evidence, one defense attorney failed to show up and another called the proceedings “just shy of outrageous.”



The Chenango County Sheriff’s Office arrested six people Feb. 9 and charged four of them – 27-year-old Richard Tyler, 20-year-old Shawndell Johnson, 33-year-old Semajdanyell Baker and 34-year-old Asia Owens, all of Syracuse – with third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a B class felony.

Detective Kevin Powell testified he had been involved in the investigation for the past three months and that police were specifically targeting Tyler, who was the only defendant mentioned by name in the search warrant.

“We had a warrant signed by the judge to search Richard Tyler and any vehicle he was in,” said Powell. Both Powell and Lt. Richard Cobb testified that they did not previously know any of the defendants inside the vehicle prior to their arrest, except for Tyler.

Police testified they pulled over a car in which Tyler was a passenger at around 9 p.m. in the Town of Norwich’s South Plaza. Cobb said since police already had a warrant to search the vehicle, officers drove it back to the sheriff’s office. He testified they uncovered a digital scale, plastic baggies and two more bags of crack cocaine, each containing about $100 of the drug.


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