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Trial continued after juror admits knowing defendant

March 22, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

The drug trial of a Hagerstown man ended before it began Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court when a member of the jury pool said he knew the defendant from drug and alcohol classes.

The admission during the questioning of potential jurors prompted Circuit Judge John H. McDowell to continue the case of Glenn Darvin Goode until April 19.

Goode, 52, of 12842 Little Elliott Drive, was charged with possession of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic drug, and contributing to the condition of a child in need of assistance, according to the criminal informations filed by the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office.
 
Both charges stem from events on Sept. 27, 2010, at his home, the same day and place where his son, Mario Longus, now 3, accidentally shot himself, Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson said at the time the informations were filed.

McDowell had just begun the voir dire, or examination, of the jury and had asked if any of the jurors knew Goode. One juror stood, and McDowell asked how the man knew Goode.

“We’re in drug and alcohol classes together,” the man said.

Defense attorney David Harbin asked to approach the bench, but McDowell allowed jury questioning to proceed. Harbin, Goode and Wilson then held a bench conference with McDowell.

“There has been an issue that has arisen that will cause the court to continue the case ... in fairness to the defendant,” McDowell told the jurors before dismissing them.

“The basic principle of selecting a jury is to select a panel with no knowledge of the case or the defendant,” Wilson said afterward. The juror’s answer “gave personal information about the defendant that would likely not have come out at trial,” he said.

Goode, who is out on bond, was indicted in December, court records said. The Sept. 27 shooting resulted in another of Goode’s sons, Marcus Longus, now 17, being charged by Hagerstown police as an adult with obstructing police, false statements to police, firearms violations and allowing a minor access to a handgun.

Marcus Longus’ girlfriend, Fantaisa Rivera, 17, of Hagerstown, was also initially charged as an adult for taking the gun from the apartment and hiding it in a playground, but her case was later transferred to juvenile court.

Marcus Longus is scheduled for trial on April 5.

Mario Longus was paralyzed by his wound, according to statements made by a Department of Social Services official at one of Rivera’s juvenile hearings.

Mario Longus is believed to have found the gun under a bed in the apartment and to have shot himself in the chest shortly after 1 a.m. on Sept. 27, the charging documents said.

 The handgun was the personal firearm of a federal law enforcement officer and had been reported stolen to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 7, the documents said.

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