YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A federal judge Wednesday denied a suppression motion for a Bloomfield man who was charged in 2017 with delivering drugs that caused the death of an Ashtabula woman in 2016.
In a 29-page opinion in the U.S. Northern District Court Of Ohio, U.S. Judge Dan Aaron Polster denied the motion filed in December by Shawn Ray Smith, 35, who had asked that evidence in his case be tossed because he claimed authorities violated his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.
Judge Polster wrote that Smith did not present any evidence that authorities violated those rights.
A trial date has not been set yet.
Smith was asking that all evidence seized during a Feb. 5, 2016, search of a Penniman Road home in North Bloomfield be suppressed because a valid warrant was never obtained by authorities.
The case was first indicted in June of 2017 and was supposed to resolve with a plea bargain before the government took the plea bargain back. The case was then set for a March 2020 trial.
A trial date has not been set in the case, but court records noted there is a status conference scheduled for Thursday.
A trial brief filed by the government in anticipation of the March 2020 trial that was postponed said a woman, known as “J.K.,” was found not breathing by her children on her bedroom floor at about 5:20 a.m. Feb. 5, 2016. An autopsy later found that the woman, who was once in a relationship with Smith, died from an overdose of a combination of drugs, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Smith kept the woman’s car, which was found at his home the morning of her death. That led to a search of his apartment, the trial brief said.
His attorneys said in their motion that any evidence seized during that search must be thrown out because investigators did not have a valid warrant. The motion said investigators with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office forced their way into the home, detained several people inside and found a case in plain view that investigators opened that had a gun and drugs inside.
Police then obtained a search warrant based on what they found in the case, the suppression motion said.