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State v. Schutz

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

April 8, 2019

STATE OF MAINE
v.
COREY SCHUTZ, Defendant HOLLY HOLMES, Petitioner
v.
STATE OF MAINE

          Attorney: LISA WHITTIER LAW OFFICE OF LISA W D WHITTIER, ESQ

          State's Attorney: KATIE SIBLEY

          DECISION AND ORDER 15M.R.S.§5826

          WILLIAM R. STOKES JUSTICE

         INTRODUCTION

         The matter before the court for resolution is the petition of Holly Holmes for the return of the sum of $20, 294.00[1] in cash seized from the safe at her residence at 20 Preble Hill Road in Vassalboro. The court held an evidentiary hearing on March 4, 2019 and received the testimony of the following witnesses during the State's initial presentation: MDEA Agent Katelyn Nichols; MDEA Agent Ronnie Blodgett; Sgt. Lowell Woodman, Jr. The court denied the Petitioner's motion for summary judgment as the close of the State's case.

         The court received testimony from the following witnesses called by the Petitioner: Corey Schutz (Petitioner's son); Agent Nichols; Sgt. Woodman; John McCaslin (Petitioner's live-in partner); Kevin Holmes (Petitioner's former husband); Petitioner Holly Holmes. The court also admitted Petitioner's Exhibit 1 (University of Maine tuition bills). Sgt. Woodman was called by the State in rebuttal and Ms. Holmes was recalled in sur-rebuttal.

         The court has received and reviewed the parties' written closing arguments, received on March 18, 2019. Based on its evaluation of the testimony and evidence, and after consideration of the arguments of counsel, the court makes the following findings of fact.

         FACTS

         Corey Schutz (D.O.B. 3/24/1994) is the son of Petitioner Holly Holmes, who resides at 20 Preble Hill Road in Vassalboro with John McCaslin and his two sons. Kevin Holmes is Corey's father. On the Indictment in this case and on other documents filed with the court and on his license, Corey's address is listed as 144 McNally Road in Clinton, his father's address.

         In December 2017, MDEA was engaged in an investigation of Corey Schutz for trafficking in scheduled drugs. On December 7 and 11, 2017, Agent Nichols was conducting surveillance of Schutz as he engaged in a controlled purchase of drugs and then returned to the residence at 20 Preble Hill Road. On January 24, 2018, Agent Nichols conducted surveillance of Schutz over the course of 8 hours during which he engaged in 10 suspected drug transactions and then returned to 20 Preble Hill Road.

         On January 25, 2018, agents executed search warrants at 144 McNally Road in Clinton and 20 Preble Hill Road in Vassalboro. A K-9 "sniff search of the house in Clinton was negative and no evidence of drug activity was discovered at that location. Schutz was arrested a short distance from the Clinton residence. He had illegal drugs and over $2500 in cash on him, including "buy" money belonging to MDEA. He was told that agents were also searching the Vassalboro address. In speaking with Agents Nichols and Blodgett, he told them that the $2500 of cash on him was for buying more drugs. He acknowledged that he had made "a lot" of money faster than he had expected, and he had put money away "for a day like this." When asked where the money was, Schutz did not answer directly but said, in substance, "you guys probably found it today."[2]

         At 20 Preble Hill Road, the K-9 "hit" on the safe which was opened with the cooperation of Mr. McCaslin. Inside, agents found a blue money bag containing approximately $15, 000 in cash, a couple of envelopes with cash inside, and a purse containing approximately $20, 000 in cash. Ms. Holmes was present at the time of the search. Her purse was searched and cash, including some MDEA "buy" money, was found. Mr. McCaslin claimed ownership of the money in the blue money bag and the envelopes. Ms. Holmes claimed ownership of the money in the purse as being hers from when she worked as an exotic dancer.

         Corey Schutz testified at the hearing that he actually resided at 2733 Riverside Drive in Vassalboro and that he seldom went back to his mother's place. He said that he kept his drugs and money at the Riverside Drive address, which was not searched by police. He claimed that by "a lot" of money he was referring to the $2500 he had on his person. He denied putting any money inside the safe at 20 Preble Hill Road. He was unable to produce any corroborating evidence that he actually resided at 2733 Riverside Drive.

         John McCaslin testified that the money in the purse-like bag - the money in dispute here[3] - belonged to Ms. Holmes, which she earned as a dancer. He said that Ms. Holmes paid none of the bills and was a saver who paid cash for everything including her tuition for ...


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