Mount Carmel man acquitted of Tri-Valley Pharmacy robbery
Charles R. Frantz Jr. did not help rob Tri-Valley Pharmacy in Valley View in May 2011, a Schuylkill County jury decided Monday.
The jury of eight men and four women deliberated approximately an hour before deciding that Frantz, 22, of Mount Carmel, was not guilty of two counts of robbery and one each of conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and retail theft.
After the verdict, Frantz smiled at and hugged friends who had come to see him.
Hegins Township police had charged that Frantz entered the Tri-Valley Pharmacy, 301 W. Main St., just after 1 p.m. May 17, 2011, held a knife to the throat of Leanne Micklesavage, who already was inside, and stole 317 Oxycodone tablets.
Police said Frantz had conspired with Micklesavage, who allowed herself to be a prop victim.
Micklesavage, 24, of Ashland, was the chief witness against Frantz, who did not testify at the one-day trial over which President Judge William E. Baldwin presided.
"We decided which one we were going to do and that was it," Micklesavage testified. "I stood up by the counter. That's when he held a knife to my throat."
Micklesavage said she returned home to Ashland and then went to Pottsville - she could not remember how - to join Frantz at the Pottsville Motor Inn.
"Did Charles give you some Oxycodone?" District Attorney Christine A. Holman asked Micklesavage.
"Yes," she answered.
She said they went to Atlantic City, N.J., before splitting up.
"We probably just got sick of each other," Micklesavage testified.
Micklesavage pleaded guilty on Oct. 31, 2012, to robbery, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of retail theft. Prosecutors withdrew two counts of conspiracy.
Judge Jacqueline L. Russell sentenced Micklesavage on Dec. 12, 2012, to serve nine to 23 months in prison, pay costs, $1,050 in fines, $100 to the Substance Abuse Education Fund, $250 to the Criminal Justice Enhancement Account and $1,798.59 restitution, undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, perform 70 hours community service and submit a DNA sample to law enforcement authorities.
Ronald R. Pellish, Pottsville, Frantz's lawyer, emphasized in his cross-examination that Micklesavage tried to leave the pharmacy before police arrived and gave a false name and other information to police.
"Right from the start, you're lying to everybody?" Pellish asked her.
"Yes," she answered.
William Huey, Tri-Valley's pharmacist, testified that the man who took the Oxycodone held "an old-fashioned pocket knife" to Micklesavage's throat.
Huey and employees Karen Herring and Amy Marshall each said the robber had blue eyes, and Pellish noted that Frantz has hazel eyes. Herring said she believed the robber was Frantz and that he was wearing contact lenses.
"I was scared. I was shaking. I was panicked," Marshall testified.
Marshall could not identify Frantz, and Pellish said in his closing argument that the jury would have to base a guilty verdict on Micklesavage, who was not believable.
"Her motive was to save her own butt," he said. "There are a whole series of lies that happened. She was being evasive. There's no corroboration of anything she says here."
Pellish also cast doubt on Herring's identification of Frantz, saying she could not have identified the robber because of the bandana he wore over part of his face.
"I believe there are many inconsistencies in the testimony," he said of the entire prosecution case.
In her closing argument, First Assistant District Attorney Maria T. Casey said that the case was sound.
"Everything did come together," she said. "The employees were threatened. Leanne Micklesavage puts Mr. Frantz Jr. in the pharmacy."
Casey also said that inconsistencies in testimony are natural and that the witnesses agreed on the essentials of what occurred.
However, the jury did not accept that, and Holman was not angry.
"We may not agree, we're disappointed, but we certainly respect (the verdict)," she said.
Pellish, naturally, was happier.
"I think the jury did a very good job of listening to the evidence and gave a lot of thought in reaching their verdict," he said.Defendant: Charles R. Frantz Jr.
Residence: Mount Carmel
Verdict: Not guilty of two counts of robbery and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and one each of conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance and retail theft