Blair judge frees woman awaiting trial

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A Bedford County woman awaiting trial in the Blair County Prison for the past 26 months was freed Friday afternoon after a decision by Blair County Judge Elizabeth Doyle to lower her bail.

Ginny Perdew, 33, was jailed on Jan. 28, 2012, on charges related to an alleged meth lab, according to state court records.

Initially her bail was $50,000, which she was unable to post.

The bail was changed on March 27, 2012, to 10 percent of $150,000. She couldn’t make that bail.

Altoona attorney Steven P. Passarello on March 7 filed another request to lower her bail so she could be freed pending trial.

In his petition, Passarello said that having Perdew remain behind bars for more than two years without trial was “unconscionable.”

Under Pennsylvania’s speedy trial rules, a suspect in prison is to be tried within 180 days. A person who is free is to be tried within 360 days.

But the rules allow extra time if the defense files pretrial motions or requests that take time to decide.

In Perdew’s case, her former attorney filed a request for the appointment of an expert to examine the prosecution’s evidence and determine if the materials confiscated by the police from a Greenfield Township, Blair County, home were enough to show that a methamphetamine laboratory was present.

According to Passarello, Perdew’s right to a speedy trial was waived six to eight times by the attorney during reviews – with her not present.

He argued in his March 7 petition that the procedure is not correct, contending the suspect herself must waive her right to a speedy trial.

Doyle Friday morning, after reviewing the case, reset bail for Perdew at 1 percent of $150,000, meaning she needed only to post $1,500 to gain her freedom.

The judge, however, imposed tight restrictions for Perdew’s release.

She is to report to the Adult Parole and Probation office at a minimum of once a week. She is barred from using alcohol and drugs, and was instructed by the judge to specifically avoid pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in cold medicine.

She is not to have contact with co-defendants, Shawn Babcock of Manns Choice and Janelle C. Smith of Osterburg, and violations of her release will mean revocation of her bail.

Perdew is to reside with her parents.

Trial has been set for May.

The alleged meth lab came to light on Dec. 9, 2011, when a Greenfield police officer was called to a residence at 149 Arden St. because of an argument.

As the officer investigated the initial complaint at the residence, a male said there was a meth lab in the basement.

Perdew allegedly told the officer he could “search anything you want” when he asked if he could check out the basement.

In the basement, the officer noticed many items that allegedly indicated a meth lab, including a broken light bulb used to smoke the meth, lithium batteries, pseudoephedrine cold and allergy tablets, cotton swabs, syringes, drain cleaner and lighter fluid.

A check with area pharmacies found the group purchased pseudoephedrine 16 times over a two-month period.

Perdew is charged with possession of materials used to make methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy, operating a meth lab and use and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.