Hung jury in Apple Creek man's meth lab case
WOOSTER -- A jury failed to reach a verdict in a two-day trial of an Apple Creek man who was charged with operating a meth lab out of his room at the Orrville Inn.
The case in Wayne County Commons Pleas Court against David Yoakem Sr., 40, 122 Villard St., will instead be retried on three of the four counts for which he was indicted.
On Tuesday the jury found Yoakem not guilty of possession of cocaine.
But the jury told Judge Mark K. Wiest they did not think they could reach a decision after four hours of deliberations on the charges of illegal manufacturing of meth, illegal assembly/possession of chemicals used to make meth and drug paraphernalia. These are felonies in the first and third degrees, respectively, and a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
The prosecution presented evidence and witnesses that tied Yoakem to the one-pot meth lab found inside room 118 at the Orrville Inn, 10355 East Lincoln Way.
Don Hall, senior agent for Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, was the person who entered the room and dismantled the lab. Though no one was inside at the time, Yoakem was later tied to the room and its contents through law enforcement's investigation, according to testimony. Two dogs, belonging to Yoakem, were seen leaving the room after law enforcement entered it, according to numerous witness testimonies.
Testimony for the prosecution claimed a blue pickup truck and
camper Yoakem allegedly drives was parked in the parking lot of the inn.
Yoakem's defense attorney, Clarke Owens, argued nothing seized from the room as evidence could clearly tie his client to the room. Yoakem's sister and a friend of hers testified they helped moved Yoakem's belongings (clothes and tools) from the room before the meth lab was found. They also claimed he was living in room 117.
Owens also argued the meth lab belonged to Doug Cecil, another individual who was staying at the Inn. Receipts presented by Assistant Prosecutor Jodie Schumacher showed Cecil was staying in a different room, and Yoakem was renting room 118.
Yet Owens questioned the inn's manager, Joyce Kick, about her receipt system. Owens said there was no indication when a tenant paid.
Owens also questioned why Kick did not report the meth lab and asked her about allegations -- which she denied -- that she accepted payment in meth in lieu of money.
The case stems from an Oct. 11, 2011, report that a meth lab was in operation at the inn in one of the rooms.
Wayne County Sheriff's deputies were on scene investigating a domestic disturbance when they received a tip from the victim of the domestic incident -- Kim Fairchild, who testified against Yoakem -- when she told law enforcement about the meth lab.
Hall responded to the scene and found a one-pot method that employs a two-liter pop bottle, and other chemicals used in making the drug.
Also removed were paraphernalia such as scales, filters, jars and lab apparatus.
Yoakem was indicted in March 2012.
Reporter Steve Huszai can be reached at 330-287-1645 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @GeneralSmithie on Twitter.