POSTED: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 5:27pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 7:00pm
The plea bargain that brought the so-called Mineola sex ring case to a close, is still resonating in our area.
The decision yesterday to accept a plea bargain from 6 of the 7 swingers defendents is seen by some as a vindication.
And KETK found, some also see it as an unnecessary slur on the town of Mineola.
We spoke with Wood County DA Jim Wheeler today, but he said that as long as one case, that of Dennis Pittman, is still on appeal, ethics prevent him from commenting.
Wheeler weighed in for the defense when 3 of the swingers cases were appealed, and publically disagreed with Smith County DA Matt Bingham.
Wheeler told KETK that when the Pittman case is resolved, he will have lots to say.
Thad Davidson always does. Davidson was Patrick Kelly’s defense attorney in his original trial.
“Any prosecutor can convict a guilty person,” he says. “But it takes a very special prosecutor or prosecutors to convict an innocent one.”
In Mineola, the feeling is a little different. Doris Newman of KETK’s news partner the Mineola Monitor, says the town has gotten a bad rap in all this.
“Most people in Mineola, there are very few that I know that haven’t bristled that, it’s become known as the Mineola swingers club,” Newman says. “There was a swingers club briefly in a building here, had nothing to do with Mineola and that association has been very painful for the spirit of this community.”
Davidson also feels that the work of Wheeler in the initial Wood County investigation was ignored in the Smith County DA’s office.
“In Wood County, there was no prosecution. Smith County should have walked down that same road,” Davidson concluded.
Meanwhile, the last of the swingers defendents, Dennis Pittman sits in prison with his life sentence in the process of appeal.
When that is done, our Jim Wheeler interview should be …interesting.