McCoy murder trial to resume Wednesday in Dover

Isaiah W. McCoy

DOVER — A motion for acquittal was under review and the defense team calling witnesses when the trial of a 29-year-old Dover man charged with murder after an alleged drug deal in 2010 broke last week.

If the schedule holds Wednesday, Isaiah W. McCoy’s defense team will present his side of the story regarding the shooting death of Maryland resident James J. Munford, then 30, in a Rodney Village area bowling alley parking lot on May 4, 2010.

Mr. McCoy is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and second-degree conspiracy.

A May 2012 conviction was vacated by the Delaware Supreme Court due to the actions of a trial judge and prosecuting attorney.

Today, two or three witnesses could be called beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Kent County Superior Court. It was uncertain last week whether Mr. McCoy will testify on his own behalf before Judge Robert B. Young in the bench trial.

After the prosecution rested its case Wednesday defense attorney Michael Wiseman made a motion to dismiss the case.

He based his motion on what he considered as unreliable witness testimony from two alleged co-conspirators and a lack of further evidence presented.

Judge Young took the request under advisement. He said he needed more time to study past testimony and interview transcripts by a woman who allegedly brokered a drug deal involving 200 Ecstasy pills and $700, and by Mr. McCoy’s nephew who was reportedly present when Mr. Munford, of Salisbury, was fatally shot in the upper torso.

During a recorded interview with a Delaware State Police detective on May 22, 2012, presented by the prosecution, Mr. McCoy repeatedly denied involvement in the shooting death.

He also did not account for his whereabouts at the time when asked.

Before the trial began last week, Mr. McCoy declined a plea deal to manslaughter which had sentencing possibilities from immediate release due to time served to life in prison based on potential habitual offender status.

He was placed on death row after the earlier conviction and then removed as the Delaware Supreme Court addressed overall capital murder sentencing concerns within the state.

Mistrial considered

Judge Young considered declaring a mistrial after the Delaware Department of Correction reported that Mr. McCoy allegedly threatened to rape an officer’s wife and rob his family during a verbal confrontation after a trial session had concluded for the day on Jan. 10.

The dispute arose when a guard ordered a female acquaintance of Mr. McCoy’s out of a secured interview room. The defendant was confined behind a plexiglass window at the time.

Mr. McCoy disputed that account, and explained that he only claimed on planning to have sex with the officer’s wife upon release because he was the better man. He pointed to a lack of video to confirm the incident, and his past run-ins with DOC staff while incarcerated as mitigating factors. Judge Young was concerned that the claims could possibly influence his decision if sentencing was applicable, but determined that the trial would go forward based on his experience and ability to separate issues and render an impartial verdict.

Lawyers pushed for the judge to recuse himself based on even the possibility of perception of sentencing, and described an appeal of a possible conviction as inevitable.

Mr. McCoy argued that a mistrial would deny his right to justice in a case he believed he has won due to often-changing witness testimony and a lack of any other evidence to prove his guilt.

He said he believed in the court’s ability to reach a fair decision based on evidence that was presented.

Besides Mr. Wiseman, attorney Herbert Mondros is representing Mr. McCoy. Deputy Attorneys General Greg Babowal and Stephen Smith are prosecuting the case.

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