HOLLIDAYSBURG - The prosecution in a Blair County drug case will be permitted to present evidence that an Altoona man sold crack cocaine to a confidential informant, even though the drugs were prematurely destroyed by city police.
Altoona attorney Joel Peppetti last week asked that the case against Daniel Deneen, 29, be dismissed because the defense did not have the opportunity to view the drugs Deneen allegedly sold to the police informant.
The trial, scheduled to start April 19, was put on hold because of the missing evidence.
Blair County Assistant District Attorney Peter Weeks said the drugs were used in another case that has already been heard, and the judge in that case ordered the drugs to be destroyed.
Police carried out the judge's order, unaware that Deneen's case was pending.
Weeks called the situation "a simple mixup."
Blair County Senior Judge Thomas G. Peoples has now issued an order denying Peppetti's request to dismiss the charges against Deneen.
Peppetti said this means that the prosecution will have to call police and laboratory experts to identify the alleged contraband and its weight.
Deneen faces other charges stemming from a search warrant that was issued for his Broad Avenue apartment subsequent to the drug sale.
Peoples ruled in that case, statements Deneen made to police before being informed of his constitutional right to an attorney and his right to remain silent could not be used against him at trial.
The case of the missing evidence in the Deneen case was one of two that came up in the past two weeks in which defense attorneys requested charges be dismissed.
Defense attorney Brian Grabill asked that alleged assault charges against a Tyrone man, Matthew Scott Mallory, 23, who scuffled with police in October, be dismissed because a dashboard videotape from a city police cruiser is missing.
Blair County Judge Elizabeth Doyle had ordered the videotape be turned over to the defense.
No hearing date has been set to hear Grabill's request.