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Sunday, 7 September 2008

Maurice King III, 32, of 3555 Possum Run Road, faces four felony charges: three counts of attempted receiving stolen property

Maurice King III, 32, of 3555 Possum Run Road, faces four felony charges: three counts of attempted receiving stolen property and one count of possessing criminal tools.He also faces seven misdemeanor charges. He is accused of arranging to buy weapons from a friend and another man who supposedly had stolen the guns from Cleveland.Cindy Reed, a Mansfield Police Department crime lab technician, was asked to identify the guns that former Mansfield police Detective Eric Bosko gave to informants to show King during a sting operation. The weapons included a 12-gauge shotgun, a Glock semiautomatic pistol and a Yugoslavian SKS assault weapon with a bayonet and grenade launcher.Bosko told jurors King said he didn't alert authorities about the sale because he feared for his family's safety. However, Bosko, now a captain with the Richland County Sheriff's Department, said King couldn't explain why he called METRICH Detective Keith Porch and not the sheriff's department, which handles all calls in the jurisdiction where he resides.Defense attorney Cassandra Mayer asked Bosko about a woman, Bobby Stanford, who at the time was in Richland County Jail. Bosko said she didn't identify King by name, but in a hand-written note said the man involved in criminal activity was a Bellville cop.
Another witness for the state was Larry Davis, an inmate from Belmont Correctional Institution.Davis testified he provided a stolen laptop to King via the defendant's father, Maurice King. Davis identified a photograph of the car authorities say Maurice King III drove when he picked up stolen property. Davis told the court King paid him for some stolen Craftsman tools ordered by his father in 2008.
Terry Hitchman, King's co-counsel, asked Davis why he was testifying against King.
"Are you expecting anything?" Hitchman asked.Davis denied Hitchman's accusation that Davis wanted to "burn" King for arresting him previously in Ontario.
Jurors also viewed King's cell phone records and photographs taken inside the house. They heard from sheriff's Detective Sgt. Matt Mayer, a witness for the defense. Mayer wired the confidential informants involved in the proposed sale of guns with King.The sheriff's sergeant said officers were stationed nearby at Snow Trails, but he was stationed in the sheriff's office listening to the sting on a speaker phone, a connection he said was somewhat distorted.
In earlier testimony, Bellville police Chief Ron Willey called King a "good officer" and "aggressive."Ron Willey told jurors King, 32, contacted him Jan. 15, the same night the METRICH Enforcement Unit searched his house. It was several days after King allegedly met with two confidential informants about buying guns.Assistant Prosecutor Chris Tunnell asked Willey if King told him someone tried to sell him guns before Jan. 15."No," Willey said.Willey said the Jan. 15 conversation, when King turned in his equipment and badge, included discussions of the search warrant and property removed from his home."He told me he was accused of attempting to purchase firearms. He attempted to tell me he felt it was kind of a setup, that these people came to his house with these firearms trying to sell them," Willey said.
Willey later said King told him he was trying to string them along, that he didn't feel he could safely make an arrest himself "due to the number of people I assume ... at his home." Willey said King also told him he called Porch on his cell phone while the alleged sale of guns was taking place.
"Perhaps most damaging is what he didn't do," Tunnell said. "He does not tell his chief of what occurs, doesn't report the incident."King, who joined the Bellville Police Department in 2000, is suspended without pay. His recent performance evaluations were exemplary. His personnel file includes numerous letters of commendation.The trial will continue Tuesday before Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese. A witness for the prosecution whose driver's license was found in a closet at King's house Jan. 15 will testify. Porch is expected to testify for the defense.



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