Drug conspiracy trial begins for former Manchester school art teacher
MANCHESTER — Jurors were challenged Tuesday to carefully evaluate the testimony of witnesses in the Hillsborough County Superior Court North trial of a former Manchester High School Central art teacher.
Lisa Tagalakis Fedor, 43, is accused of allowing a boarder to sell drugs out of the Sagamore Street residence where she lived with her children and her 22-year-old boyfriend, Kristopher White.
In his opening argument, Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino said Tagalakis Fedor may not have signed paperwork formalizing a conspiracy to sell drugs, primarily heroin, out of her Sagamore Street residence, but he promised to present evidence from which jurors could infer an agreement.
Robert Doane, 28, an ex-convict introduced to Tagalakis Fedor by her boyfriend, has been convicted of drug sales during the period in early 2013, when he was paying Tagalakis Fedor $100 a week to rent a room.
Tagalakis Fedor is charged with common nuisance, keeping or maintaining her home for the purpose of keeping or selling illegal drugs and conspiracy to commit sale of a controlled drug.
Zaino said there are eight elements that make up the conspiracy amongst Tagalakis Fedor, Doane, White and others known and unknown. Among the elements: Doane packaged heroin and sold it out of the residence; Doane purchased a stolen gun for protection; White bought ammunition for the gun; and Doane carried that gun with him when he sold heroin.
The only elements that mention Tagalakis Fedor directly are that Doane paid her money for the room and that she allowed him to sell heroin there.
Zaino said the prosecution only has to prove one of those elements and Tagalakis Fedor doesn’t have to know of the overt act to be guilty of conspiracy.
Defense attorney Joseph Prieto said that is nonsense. “Lisa Tagalakis is not guilty,” he said.
Prieto said Tagalakis Fedor went voluntarily to the police station and spoke with police, twice.
He said the police will testify that Tagalakis Fedor confessed, but, despite having cameras and microphones built into interview rooms at the new police station on Valley Street, nobody recorded the interviews.
“There is no confession,” he told jurors.
The cameras and microphones are controlled by a single switch, he said. “No one hit that switch,” said Prieto. Why not? Prieto said the response from the detective in charge was: “I don’t know.”
He said the only thing Tagalakis Fedor did was rent a room to White’s friend.
Prieto said White told police the drugs they found during a search of the residence were his and he told police: “Lisa knew nothing about those drugs.”
Prieto said White implored police: “Please don’t tell Lisa I use drugs.”
As for explicit or implicit agreements about drug sales, the defense attorney said: “There are none.”
The trial resumes Wednesday morning in Hillsborough County Superior Court North.