• Last modified 495 days ago (Dec. 7, 2022)


Error axes 4 drug cases

Staff writer

A sheath of drug charges filed Aug. 16 against four defendants arrested at the same time have been dismissed for reasons the county attorney’s office refuses to disclose.

Sheriff Jeff Soyez said Tuesday that the arresting officer, Joel Womochil, reported a syringe had been dropped on the ground, but in-car video showed the syringe had been thrown from the car before Womochil made contact with the driver.

Soyez said that if an officer’s report said evidence was “dropped” but instead was thrown, it could cause problems during trial.

Charges against David L. Bean, 52, Newton; Bernadette M. Paris, 46, Moundridge; Michelle L. Stevens, 35, Peabody; and Jackie W. McHolland, 51, Moundridge, were dismissed Nov. 1 and 2.

Womochil had pulled over a 2000 Toyota Camry owned by Paris on July 10 for having only one headlight.

After a search of the car by Womochil and deputy Matt Regier, all occupants were arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of drug offenses.

Undisclosed quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana were discovered along with a bottle of prescription pills with a wrong name on it, according to original reports filed in the case.

The sheriff’s office later filed a request to seize the Toyota. The court awarded the car to the sheriff’s office Oct 3.

Bean was charged Aug. 16 with distribution of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, having no drug tax stamp for a controlled substance, and possession of THC and drug paraphernalia.

Stevens was charged with possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, THC, and drug paraphernalia.

McHolland was charged with interference with law enforcement, possession of methamphetamine, and THC, and having no proof of insurance.

Paris was charged with possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

The county attorney’s office would not give a reason for the dismissal of the charges.

“That one is a no comment,” said Karen Selznick, assistant to county attorney Joel Ensey.

Last modified Dec. 7, 2022