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Inmate Says Guard Gave Him Drugs

SirBlazinBowl

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The trial of Northumberland County Prison guard Holly Yucha began Monday with a former inmate claiming he smoked marijuana with Ms. Yucha while he was incarcerated.

The testimony of Michael Newman, 41, of Sunbury, largely repeated the accounts he gave to an investigative grand jury in 2003 and at the May 2004 preliminary hearing on the charges against Ms. Yucha, 34, also of Sunbury.
His story Monday differed in that he added the detail that the first time she provided him with the drug, she smoked it with him. Mr. Newman said they shared the marijuana by passing it back and forth between the bars of his cell door during the middle of a night sometime in 2001.

Mr. Newman said that the prison guard provided him with marijuana on three or four occasions. "But the first time we smoked it together. I don't know if she didn't trust me to just give it to me," he said. At both the preliminary hearing and before the grand jury, Mr. Newman said he didn't recall smoking marijuana with a guard, according to transcripts defense attorney Michael Rudinski presented as evidence Monday. "This is the first time you're saying you smoked marijuana with ( Ms. Yucha )," the defense attorney said to Mr. Newman.

The witness replied that it was the first time he had testified in court. Asked to explain why he had changed his account of the events, he said he realized that his earlier testimony was wrong. "So your memory now is a lot better than it was a year ago or in 2003," Mr. Rudinski said. "There was a lot going on at that time ... a lot of drugs," Mr. Newman said.

Under questioning by Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Madeira, who is prosecuting the case, Mr. Newman admitted that while he was incarcerated he had been involved in smuggling drugs and contraband into the prison "whenever possible."

"Would it be fair to say that you ran the prison?" Mr. Madeira asked.

"Pretty much," Mr. Newman replied.

He wasn't charged for his criminal activity while incarcerated, Mr. Newman said, adding that he was told by investigators all along that prisoners wouldn't be charged in connection with the investigation into allegations of corruption at the prison.

That investigation led to the April 2004 indictment of seven guards, five of whom have since reached plea agreements with prosecutors. Ms. Yucha and Kazimir Grohowski, 33, of Mount Carmel, are contesting the allegations.

Mr. Newman said that while he was involved in drug distribution in the prison, he smoked the marijuana provided by Ms. Yucha. He said he didn't like testifying against her because he felt like she had shared her marijuana with him as a gesture of kindness after realizing they had mutual friends.

Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage, who is presiding over the trial, said it's expected to conclude today.

Newshawk: SirBlazinBowl - 420times.com
Source: Daily Item (PA)
Copyright: 2005 The Daily Item
Contact: letters@dailyitem.com
Website:http://www.dailyitem.com/
Author: John Finnerty
 
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