Posted on December 7, 2004

Nine Witnesses Skip Murder Trial

Sharon Coolidge, The Enquirer (Cincinnati), Dec. 7

A Hamilton County judge postponed the trial of a 14-year-old boy accused of killing two men Monday after nine witnesses scheduled to testify didn’t show up.

Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker pushed back David Harris’ trial until January and said he would do everything he could to help both sides move the case to trial — even jailing witnesses needed by the state in their prosecution.

Witnesses who failed to show up Monday were not threatened or intimidated against testifying, which has been a persistent problem in murder trials, said Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier.

In this case, he said, the witnesses “just don’t care.”

Dinkelacker said, “Unfortunately this is something we see all too often.” Last year, Dinkelacker jailed a woman when she failed to show up and testify against a man she accused of raping her.

Piepmeier, who said he won’t accept the no-shows, thinks the problem stems from a lack of respect for the justice system.

“They run the streets, they are never taught right from wrong,” he said. “They don’t think the murders are wrong — it’s just how they deal with problems.”