Mistrial may be considered in Portsmouth kidnapping case
BRENTWOOD - A judge may have to consider a mistrial for a Portsmouth man on his trial for attempted kidnapping after a witness revealed new information Thursday, saying he provided Portsmouth police with surveillance photos of three men wearing jackets similar to the alleged assailant.
The revelation came on the second day of testimony in the trial of James Perry, 37, of Portsmouth, who faces charges of attempted kidnapping and criminal restraint for allegedly trying to coerce a woman into her car at gunpoint on Dec. 14.The attack happened in the parking lot of Ocean State Job Lot in Portsmouth.
Prosecutors said they only learned of the additional photos during Thursday's testimony. A man hired to install cameras in the Gosling Meadows apartments testified he turned over to police images of three men wearing puffy jackets recorded after the attempted kidnapping.
Defense lawyers have argued that other suspects were interviewed by police but never pursued them after focusing on Perry. A jacket recovered near the crime scene belonging to Perry was found by a police K-9 Titan. Prosecutors say the jacket had Perry's DNA on it, along with a sample of a second, unidentified person.
Perry's girlfriend told police that Perry eventually acknowledged that he was the suspect in the abduction, prosecutors said.
Defense lawyer Brett Newkirk argued for a mistrial late Thursday morning, saying he could have attacked the state's case differently had he known of the images turned over to police earlier.
"There were two other suspects," Newkirk said. "We've kind of been sandbagged with it."
Judge N. William Delker instructed county attorneys to look into whether video images captured around Gosling Meadows were still in the hands of police and why that evidence wasn't turned over to the state in preparation of the case.
Police began scouring woods behind the store, then the neighboring apartment complex, on Dec. 14 in their search for suspects, according to court testimony.
Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway told Delker she believes the new information does not rise to the level of a violation for a mistrial.
"I had no idea there was additional video that was handed over to police," Conway said, saying she went to the police department and reviewed the footage herself.
Delker said he would research whether he may have to grant a mistrial this afternoon. "I want to find out whether those videos still exist at the police station and why they were not included in discovery," Delker said. "If they don't exist, find out what happened to them."