Loftis trial continuing Thursday
Ponca City Now - February 25, 2016 8:58 am
By Beverly Bryant/News Director
Testimony will continue today in the Kay County District Court trial for Ponca City attorney Charles Scott Loftis.
Loftis is charged with three counts of conspiracy to bring contraband into a jail, a felony; and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, also a felony.
Loftis is represented by Creekmore Wallace II of Sapulpa. Christopher Boring of Woodward is the District Attorney prosecuting the cases and Louis Duel of Guthrie is the judge.
The charges were filed against Loftis in November 2013.
In Wednesday’s testimony, witness Spencer Cuccaro was sworn in but declined to testify. After testimony from Loftis, Cuccaro was recalled. Over the objection of Loftis’ attorney,, Cuccaro was found unavailable by wrongdoing. Later in the day, a transcript of his testimony from the preliminary hearing was read into the trial record.
Witness Kevin Phillips testified about his acquaintance with Terome Porter in the Kay County Detention Center and said he saw Porter return to his call with a laundry bag containing contraband, including a cell phone, tobacco, marijuana and Loritabs.
He also said two women, Pam Miller and Pamela Turner had arranged to get Phillips a cell phone. He described how the women purchased the phone and also got $200 to pay someone to get the phone to him in the Kay County Detention Center. Phillips said he never received the phone.
Phillips also testified he did not know how Terome Porter got the cell phone.
Phillips said he was testifying because of an agreement with prosecutors that they would not object when Phillips comes up for parole in September.
After a lunch break, Cuccaro’s testimony from the preliminary hearing was read into t he record. He stated he knew Terome Porter outside of the Kay County Detention Center for about 10 years. He said he knew Porter was in the jail on a murder charge and that Loftis was not his attorney. He said he talked with Loftis three times in court, three times in the jail and one time at the courthouse, not in a courtroom. He described the conversations as a kind of investigation about what was going on with Porter.
The testimony said Porter was caught with a cell phone in the jail, along with drugs. Cuccaro said his own attorney told him not to talk to Loftis about the cell phone.
Cuccaro stated that Loftis provided the cell phone for Porter, “cut and dried.” He also said several people saw the cell phone.
Witness Carl Summers, who is working on a pipeline in North Dakota, testified he served time in the Kay County Detention Center from January 2011 to December 2012 on a conviction of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.
Summers was a trusty after a month into his sentence and said he worked in several areas of the jail. He said he was working in the laundry room the day Porter was caught with a cell phone.
The jury was removed from the courtroom because of an issue with one of the state’s witnesses. Boring, the District Attorney, said witness Pamela Miller had stated she intended to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights not to testify in the case. Boring said he then notified the defense attorney and the judge.
Defense Attorney Wallace agreed Miller should be brought in because she is a named co-conspirator in the cell phone case.
She spoke with Judge Duel and said she “did not remember everything.” Duel reminded her she was subpoenaed to testify and asked if she had been threatened or if she was scared to testify. She said no, she was not threatened.
“I am willing to make an example of you and hold you in the Kay County Detention Center, and I am the one who gets to tell you when you leave,” Duel said. “You are under oath. Are you afraid to testify?”
Miller again said no, she was not afraid.
Duel told Miller she was not charged in this case and so did not have Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to testify.
Miller then took the stand and testified that she and her former sister-in-law, Pam Turner, were going to try to get a cell phone into the correctional center. She said she received a call from Turner and was supposed to pass the phone off to get it into the jail.
She said she had been friends with Terome Porter and had been in Loftis’ office to talk about Porter’s case.
At several points the prosecuter had to remind Miller she was under oath when she hesitated to answer questions. Boring gave her a copy of her previous testimony from the preliminary hearing to prompt her to answer the questions. Boring also asked to be allowed to treat her as a hostile witness.
She first denied visiting Porter at the Kay County Detention Center but after being shown the previous transcript, admitted that talk to him and wrote letters. She said she spoke to him almost every other night, and Porter was speaking on a cell phone.
Boring asked if she knew how he got it. Her reponse was “Yes. It was passed on.”
Boring asked if she purchased the phone and she said “Not that I can recall.”
He then asked if she ever participated in getting a cell phone into the jail.
“It was passed on to me. I was supposed to activate the phone and someone was supposed to pick it up,” she said.
Boring again showed her the prior transcript and asked again if she had purchased the phone for Terome Porter.
“Yes,” she said.
After further questioning, Miller said she had purchased the phone, activated it, placed it and a charger in soap boxes, and delivered them to Scott Loftis’ office. She said Porter had instructed her to do so.
Miller was asked if she was supposed to provide a phone for Kevin Phillips at the jail. She knew him by the name Black.
She said she was supposed to get a cell phone and $200 to get it into the jail. However, she said she returned the phone and then used the $200 on her bills.
Wallace asked if Loftis was at his office when the soap boxes were delivered. Miller said he was not, and the door was locked. She left the boxes in a plastic bag in front of the door.
Wallace asked if she knew that Loftis had recorded a conversation Miller had with him after she was given a subpoena. She said she did not. Wallace asked if Loftis told her to honor the subpoena and tell the truth, and she said yes.
Witness Pamela Turner testified that she knew Kevin Phillips and they were married for three years. She also was an associate of Terome Porter and became good friends, and Phillips and Porter knew each other.
She said she would visit Phillips at the jail and had conversations over cell phones.
She testified she did not like the idea of Phillips having a cell phone in the jail but went to Walmart in Winfield, Kansas, to purchase the phone. The next day, she said, she took the phone back and sold it to a friend. She said she did not receive the $200 back that she had given Miller.
She said her job was to pick up a cell phone and deliver it to Pam Miller with $200. She also purchased tobacco and dropped it off with Kayla Woods.
Woods testified next and said she had a plea agreement with the District Attorney to testify truthfully and submit to drug testing in exchange for a 20-year suspended sentence on drug charges and knowingly concealing stolen property.
She said she had known Porter for about eight years and spent six months in the county jail while Porter was there.
Woods said she took envelopes containing tobacco, marijuana and crushed Loritabs to Loftis’ office and wrote Porter’s name on them in November 2011. She said she had told Loftis she was bringing the envelopes but never told him what was in them.
Woods will take the stand again today.