LaFAYETTE, Ga. — Judge Don Thompson rejected a motion Wednesday that he, rather than a jury, issue a verdict in a pharmacy theft case.
Sharon Gregg, the wife of a pastor at New Covenant Baptist Church in Rossville, is accused of pocketing money several times from her former employer, Longley's Pharmacy. The pharmacy's owner and his wife said they caught on video cameras Gregg lifting the cash multiple times from February through May 2010.
But Gregg's attorney, McCracken Poston, has argued the owners were sloppy with their finances, making it difficult to know how much money Gregg stole — or if she stole anything at all.
After Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin finished calling witnesses Wednesday afternoon, Poston asked Thompson to find Gregg not guilty rather than put the verdict in the hands of the jurors. In particular, Poston pointed to the testimony of Judy Grimmett, the wife of the pharmacy owner.
On Tuesday, Grimmett testified she allowed Gregg to take extra money straight from the cash register every two weeks as a raise. She said she felt this would allow Gregg to keep more of the money herself, rather than be taxed on the small boost.
"There was never an exact figure that she supplemented Sharon's pay with," Poston said. " That is the crux of this case."
But Franklin pointed out that, in fact, Grimmett testified she gave Gregg a specific raise: an extra $50 every two weeks. And while several witnesses testified they took money straight from the cash register to pay for employee lunches and store supplies, Franklin said, that money was all supposed to be accounted for.
Two pharmacy technicians testified they saw Gregg put money in her own pocket, without a specific purpose.
Thompson sided with Franklin, allowing the jury to consider the evidence themselves. The case is still going, with Poston calling his own witnesses. He expects to finish presenting his evidence in support of Gregg this afternoon.
In addition to the testimonies of other employees, Franklin's most significant evidence has been security camera footage showing Gregg take money out of the register. Judy Grimmett and her husband, Jerry, testified that the video shows Gregg "sneaking" the money away, as opposed to using it for work purposes.
But Poston continued to argue money was flowing in and out of the pharmacy without sound bookkeeping. On Wednesday, he called to the stand Lauren Jenkins, Gregg's niece. Jenkins said she worked at the pharmacy once a week for nine months, estimating she earned about $4,600 over that time period — all in cash.
"Were people using that [cash] register as a bank?" Poston asked.
"Yes," she said.
"As an ATM?" he asked.
"Yes," she said.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.