Joselin Powell of West Jefferson took the stand at her trial on Tuesday. The 19-year-old explained that she unknowingly transported a .22 caliber revolver in the middle console of her friends’, Edward Taylor, Pontiac Grand Prix on May 14.
However, after the closing statements in the trial, the jury went to deliberate but ended in a deadlock and a hung jury Tuesday night.
Powell was charged with one count of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. Powell’s trial started in Madison County Common Pleas Court with Nick Adkins prosecuting and Robert Beck representing Powell.
After opening statements, Adkins called in both West Jefferson Police Department Parole Officer Kyle Kauffman and West Jefferson Sergeant Brian Duemmel to the witness stand. Kauffman first gave his side of what happened at the traffic stop with Powell. He mentioned that he saw her touch the white line in the Grand Prix which initiated the stop.
When Kauffman approached the car, he asked for her insurance and license. Powell did not have a valid I.D., which raised suspicions for Kauffman. He said he could smell the odor of marijuana and noticed Powell and another passenger inside the vehicle. Kauffman then put Powell in the back of his vehicle and the other passenger in the back of Duemmel’s car.
When Powell was brought to the witness stand, she explained that two days prior to the traffic stop, she and Taylor went to a carryout store to buy drinks and snacks so Taylor left his gun in the center console before they went inside. After that, they both apparently forgot that the gun was in the console after they went inside to go to bed.
Both Taylor and Powell claimed that the gun is used for protection. When questioned, Powell said, “We go to bad areas often” which is why Taylor carries the gun.
Police video of the traffic stop was also shown throughout the trial. Powell was heard saying, “Well, there might be one (a weapon) in the console.” The inconsistencies in the story are what Adkins focused his closing arguments on. From Powell’s first statement that she did not know there was a gun in the console to “there might be one” raised some concerns.
Beck however, defended Powell by pointing out that she talks a lot when she gets nervous, which is how she felt after being pulled over, and he also focused on her personal life with her mother passing away and had nowhere to stay after being shipped from multiple family members.
After the jury returned deadlocked, Adkins said, “The judge has given me two weeks to figure out where to go from here.”