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Lunch offer leads to mistrial

March 31, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

When a defendant in an unresolved domestic assault trial offered to buy his lunch Thursday, Washington County Circuit Court Judge Don Beachley said he took it as a joke.

But prosecutor Duane Gigeous wasn't laughing - he demanded and got a mistrial in the ongoing first-degree assault case against David Edward Robertson.

"This certainly shows the defendant's state of mind," Gigeous said, calling the lunch offer an attempted bribe to the judge who was in the middle of hearing the non-jury case.

Surprised by the lunch-offer revelation, defense attorney Lisa Shank Poole said in court that her client had used poor judgment.

Gigeous renewed his demand for a mistrial.

"The state had presented a strong case, but if they want to give him another trial," Beachley said, "a mistrial is granted."

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Beachley said he was having lunch at a downtown restaurant with his former law partners when Robertson came over to his table and offered to buy his lunch.

The judge revealed the encounter in open court saying he felt it was required.

Robertson, 41, of 13428 Draper Road, Clear Spring, was being tried before Beachley late Thursday morning on a charge of first-degree assault against his estranged wife - a charge which carries a possible 25-year prison sentence.

Christine Robertson testified that she had gotten a protective order keeping her husband away from her in May 1999.

On Dec. 1, 1999, she said she heard a vehicle outside her Georgia Avenue home at 9:20 p.m. and when she looked out the window, she saw David Robertson sitting in his work van staring at her, court records said.

She called police but when they arrived, the van was gone, according to court records.

About 10 minutes later and after police had left, she saw him outside again and this time, he pointed a gun at her, according to court records.

Police were called again and this time they waited until she packed and left with her children for a friend's house, court records said.

The defendant maintained his innocence from the stand Thursday morning, records showed.

Contacted later, Poole had no further comment, saying the case remains open and is still in litigation.

Gigeous, an assistant Washington County State's Attorney, was unavailable for comment after the trial on the future status of Robertson's case.

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