Accused burglar on trial this week
By Karen Hall
Closing arguments were being heard in a local burglary case Thursday.
Jason Fisher, 31, formerly of Woodbridge Drive, denies responsibility for the four cases of aggravated burglary he is charged with. The victims were homeowners on Woodbridge Drive, and the thefts happened almost a year ago, between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2.
Assistant District Attorneys Eddie Barnard and Mike Randles painstakingly built the case on Wednesday, the first day of the trial. One by one, the victims testified how their homes had been broken into and ransacked and numerous items taken.
Woodbridge Drive was described as a "one-street subdivision" of about 20 houses, so after there had been four burglaries there in less than a week, the Marshall County Sheriff's Department was on high alert.
Fisher was arrested by Detective Jimmy Oliver on Oct. 3. Oliver and Capt. Bob Johnson were in the area of Woodbridge Drive, west of Chapel Hill, when they saw Fisher "driving a vehicle without a tag," Johnson said at the time.
When they pulled him over, the lawmen spotted some of the stolen property in the vehicle, and this led to Fisher's arrest.
When he was first interviewed, Oliver said, Fisher claimed to have been a lookout, while another person did the burglaries.
Stolen property from all four homes was found in Fisher's bedroom in his mother's house on Woodbridge Drive.
"It was piled up everywhere - the bed, the floor, the closet," Oliver testified Wednesday. "Open the door and you'd see it."
Fisher made several statements to Oliver, and accused two or three other people of committing the burglaries. Detectives followed up all leads, but only one led to a real person, Josh Johnson, who was thoroughly investigated, but nothing was found.
"The only person who had stolen property from 100 percent of these burglaries was the defendant?" Barnard asked Oliver.
"Correct," answered the detective.
"Josh Johnson had 0 percent?" Barnard asked.
"Correct," Oliver replied.
Later Randles asked Marshall County Sheriff's Detective Tony Nichols, who also participated in solving the case, "All the stolen property was recovered from his (Fisher's) residence, his vehicle, or locations he directed you to?"
"Yes, sir," Nichols replied.
Michael Collins and Bill Harold of the Public Defender's Office, representing Fisher, began their case on Thursday by calling his mother, Pamela Fisher, to the witness stand.
She provided an alibi for her son, stating that he was away from Woodbridge Drive on the 26th, when the first burglary occurred, and did not return until the evening of the 28th. He left again on the 29th, Mrs. Fisher said, and did not come back until the early hours of Oct. 2.
"Did you know about the property in your son's room?" Randles asked.
"No, I did not," Pamela Fisher said.
"You were unaware it was there?" Randles continued.
"Exactly," she answered.
Pamela Fisher admitted she was away at work every day from 6:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Jason Fisher then took the stand in his own defense, sticking to his story that the person who broke into his neighbors' houses was Josh Johnson, and he was just the lookout, walking up and down the street.
"I gave him the key to my house; let him put stuff in my room," Fisher said.
"You're telling the jury you're not guilty of these aggravated burglaries?" asked Collins.
"Yes, sir," Fisher replied. "I did not knowingly steal anything. I knew what they were up to and I did not want to be involved."
"What do you mean by 'they'?" asked Barnard.
"Josh Johnson and another guy, a friend of his," Fisher replied.
Fisher said he did not remember signing the statement written for him by Oliver.
Oliver, called back to the witness stand as a rebuttal witness, was asked by Barnard, "Who put the signature on that statement?" and the detective replied, "Jason Fisher."
The jury was expected to be deliberating Thursday afternoon.
For the verdict, visit marshalltribune.com.