Man's second trial begins

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Lewisburg man's second jury trial on drug charges started Tuesday with jury selection and testimony from the prosecution's first witness, and continued Wednesday and Thursday. Four days were set aside for the trial.

Tyrone Pierce Jr., 34, of Silver Street was indicted by the Marshall County Grand Jury last year. The five count indictment charges Pierce with two counts each of sale and delivery of crack cocaine (a Schedule II drug) and one count of simple possession.

LaShawn A. Williams of Nashville and Rhonda Hooks of Columbia are defending Pierce.

His first trial on these charges started on Oct. 29, 2009, and continued on Nov. 2, when Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler declared a mistrial on the basis of flaws in "discovery," the process by which prosecution and defense inform one another of the evidence they will be presenting.

Pierce's second scheduled trial date was Dec. 17, but his attorneys filed a "Rule 10" motion, and Crigler assigned the new trial date: Jan. 26.

The prosecution's first witness was the confidential informant who worked for the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force and made a "controlled buy" of what is alleged to have been crack cocaine from Pierce on Feb. 13, 2009.

Other witnesses were agents of the Task Force, who played two recordings of the "buy," one from the "wire" worn by the confidential informant, and the other from the backup recording device that was also concealed on her person. The agents also showed the jury a video of the transaction, which allegedly shows the exchange of drugs for money between Pierce and the informant on the front porch of the Silver Street house.

While still under surveillance on Feb. 13, Pierce left the residence and drove away. The agents followed him and conducted a traffic stop. In the course of searching Pierce they found five of the $20 bills that had been used as "buy money" by the informant earlier that afternoon, as well as a quantity of crack cocaine with a street value of $1,200 to $1,500, according to testimony by Tim Miller, assistant director of the task force.

Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Nashville testified Thursday morning about the results of the analysis that was done on the drugs confiscated from Pierce.

The defense sought to discredit the truth of the informant's testimony, and to question the Task Force's handling of the evidence. Task Force Director Tim Lane was sent back to his office to get his hand-written evidence logs and bring them to court.

Cross-examination of Lane was due to continue after the lunch break on Thursday.

See our Web site,, for an update on the results of this trial.