Mistrial declared in burglary case

September 11, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A mistrial was declared in a burglary trial Wednesday in Berkeley County Circuit Court when a juror admitted to having prior knowledge of the case.

Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said she had just finished her opening statement in the case against Christopher A. Tomblin when "a juror stood up, raised his hand and said he was a security guard."

According to Games-Neely, the man said he was working on the night of the burglary and heard the events unfold over a police scanner. Games-Neely said the prosecution and the defense both moved for a mistrial.


Tomblin, 26, of Martinsburg, was facing trial for the Aug. 25, 1996, burglary at a Paynes Ford Road home in which he and two other people allegedly stole a 700-pound safe. According to court records, the safe was taken from the home of Yancey K. Noble III, who later told police it contained approximately $60,000 in cash and $20,000 in jewelry.

The police report stated that a gray Pontiac Grand Am was seen by witnesses at the house at about 2 a.m. and that loud banging noises were heard in the house. Two men were seen pushing the safe down the driveway and a woman driving the car pulled into the driveway and helped them hoist the safe into the trunk.

The safe was later found in a field near Kearneysville with the door partially pried open and the contents missing.

Police traced the car from its description to the suspects. The lid and inside of the trunk were damaged and police reportedly found paint chips inside matching the paint of the safe.

Tomblin's trial has been rescheduled for Sept. 23, according to Games-Neely. The cases for the other suspects are still pending, she said.

The Herald-Mail Articles