By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer
A Muskogee judge dismissed a case Friday against a man set for trial on a rape charge, surprising prosecutors who believed the trial period had been ended early.
Victor Cottrell Redo Jr., 26, was released from jail Friday after District Judge Mike Norman dismissed the case filed against him Aug. 2, 2011.
Prosecutors allege Redo raped a woman he met on Facebook on July 30, 2011. Redo was charged with first-degree rape and forcible oral sodomy.
Norman dismissed the case, saying it had been set on three felony jury dockets, but had never reached the jury trial phase. Court records show it was stricken from February’s docket because Redo’s then-attorney, Roger Hilfiger, was in a different jury trial.
It was stricken again in July, and set for Oct. 26.
“It’s my intention today to dismiss this case and to put him back on probation for the five-year term,” Norman said.
When Redo was charged in the rape case, his probation was revoked on a 2008 distribution of controlled substance conviction.
Norman could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning the state can re-file the charges at a later date.
According to transcripts from a hearing Friday, Norman said he had asked the Muskogee County District Attorney’s Office — who fills out the docket schedule — to set Redo’s trial at the beginning of the docket two times.
This docket lists Redo’s trial as scheduled to begin Friday, the last day of the two-week trial period.
During the hearing, Norman asked Assistant District Attorney Tim King and Redo’s attorney, Jay Cook, if they were ready to proceed to trial.
“We were,” King said.
According to the transcript, Redo was unchained from his seat in the empty jury box and placed at the defense table with Cook. Norman then began reading a statement to the nonexistent jury, before telling attorneys he had excused the jury pool because First Assistant District Attorney Jim Carnagey said on Wednesday “We had no more jury trials.”
“He grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted what I said then,” Carnagey said. “Because we had trials, including a murder trial, we were ready on.”
Jurors were sent home Wednesday after a jury was picked in a murder case which concluded Friday. Court records show 550 jury summons were sent out, but only 140 showed up at the courthouse for jury duty Oct. 15. Fifty-one of those jurors were excused, leaving just 89 to hear cases over the two-week period.
In total, two criminal cases were tried during the year’s final jury period, though the docket lists 69 criminal cases. Norman had chided the DA’s office in a written statement earlier in the month for trying just six cases during July’s trial period.
Deandre Clark, 19, is accused of first-degree felony murder in the Nov. 23, 2011 slaying of Ryan Satterfield. That trial was set for jury selection Monday, but was delayed because all three courtrooms were filled with other trials and the jury pool was so limited, it was possible no jury would be able to be selected, leading to a mistrial.
It was stricken to the February docket Wednesday.
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.