WOOSTER -- "I never cooked methamphetamines in my life," asserted David Lee Yoakem Sr. when he took the stand in his own defense in a two-day trial. And the jury hearing his case (sort of) agreed with him.
Yoakem Sr., 40, last known address of 4525 Fox Lake Road, Smithville, was indicted and tried in Wayne County Common Pleas Court on six counts of various drug charges, including aggravated possession of meth (exceeding 150 grams), illegal manufacture of meth, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals used to make meth, possession of criminal tools, illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of drugs.
The charges vary from a first-degree felony to misdemeanors.
A jury found him guilty Friday of three of those charges, including aggravated possession of meth, a first-degree felony and the most serious count against him. The jury also found Yoakem guilty of possession of criminal tools and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia after deliberating for two-and-a-half hours.
Sentencing is set for Monday in Judge Mark K. Wiest's courtroom.
The charges stem from an incident Aug. 24 when Wayne County Sheriff's deputies went to the land on Fox Lake Road where Yoakem's RV was parked, where they arrested him along with two women on warrants.
As relayed to Medway Drug Enforcement Agency through the use of a confidential informant, chemicals used to make meth and a finished product also were found and disposed of, as Donald Hall, senior Medway agent, testified.
The prosecution presented witnesses and evidence supporting their belief the meth lab and chemicals belonged to Yoakem, including a handful of people who claimed to have purchased or traded items in exchange for meth from him.
During her closing arguments, Assistant Prosecutor Jodie Schumacher said informants tipped off law enforcement "because Yoakem was the supply in the food chain."
The prosecution also presented evidence that Yoakem purchased pseudoephedrine pills three days before he was arrested, and his girlfriend bought more the morning of Aug. 24, when he was arrested.
"Reason and common sense has demonstrated the defendant is guilty," Schumacher said.
Yoakem's defense through witness testimony was he was staying with a friend in Wooster for a few weeks. During the day he was arrested at the Fox Lake Road property, Yoakem testified he was called out to the camper upon news it had been broken into and was there when deputies found him hiding under clothes and blankets.
Yoakem testified he fell down and was in plain sight, and once deputies arrested him, he said, he tried to tell them his camper was forcibly entered and learned the meth materials were there, even though he admitted to being at the camper for roughly an hour before law enforcement went to find him.
"At that point I thought 'wow it's time to shut up, this is serious,'" Yoakem said on the witness stand.
Through his testimony and questions posed by his attorney, Clarke Owens, Yoakem claimed he was set up by either Marion Eugene Cecil (who is serving six years on charges of making meth) or Bernard Dale Holliday III and one of them broke into his camper to make meth.
Holliday testified he not only purchased meth from Yoakem, but he was, in fact, the person who tipped of Medway.
Yoakem went to trial Feb. 10 in another meth lab case from October 2011 at the Orrville Inn, on East Lincoln Way. In that case, the jury could not reach a decision.
He also faces another trial (originally scheduled for Monday) after he was allegedly found with a meth lab operating in the trunk of his vehicle at a Wooster retail store.