Man facing six felony charges released from custody while awaiting trialTristan Leroy Trice, 28, of Maple Grove, Minn., was released from custody after appearing in Carlton County Court on Wednesday, despite the fact he is facing numerous felony counts related to a drug arrest earlier this summer.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Tristan Leroy Trice, 28, of Maple Grove, Minn., was released from custody after appearing in Carlton County Court on Wednesday, despite the fact he is facing numerous felony counts related to a drug arrest earlier this summer. Trice and co-defendant Robert Donelle Williams, 34, are both charged with one count of felony first-degree controlled substance crime, three counts of fifth-degree controlled substance crime and two counts relating to possession of a firearm by a felon.
Trice was scheduled for a settlement conference on Wednesday, but Assistant County Attorney Mike Boese informed Judge Robert Macaulay that various pieces of forensic evidence related to the case, including DNA results, are still being processed at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) lab in Bemidji. Boese said it generally takes some eight to 10 weeks to process such evidence, though he has received assurances that the lab will do everything it can to prioritize the case, though results will likely still be delayed until early December.
Trice had earlier requested to exercise his right to a speedy trial (within 60 days after entering a not guilty plea), and that trial had tentatively been set for Monday, Oct. 17. Boese requested the trial date be reset and asked that Trice remain in custody until that time because of his many previous criminal points from past offenses.
Public Defender Jeremy Downs pointed out that Trice has been in custody for several months and requested his release if a continuance was granted. Downs stated that Trice has pledged to abide by whatever rules or compliances the judge might set for him in the interim, including driving to Carlton County from Maple Grove for periodic review hearings if necessary.
Judge Macaulay then granted Trice a conditional release, requiring that he abstain from drugs or other mind-altering substances, not leave the state, report any change of address and cooperate fully with his attorney. He then set a tentative hearing date of 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21.
According to the criminal complaint against Trice, at approximately 11:45 p.m. June 3, Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Matt Respet pulled over a motor vehicle on Interstate 35 near Cloquet’s14th Street overpass for traveling at 90 mph in a 70 mph speed zone. When he approached the car, Respet noticed “several indicators of potential controlled substance activity” from both the driver, Trice, and his passenger, Williams, who lists his address as Columbia Heights, Minn.
Because he saw indications of drug use, Respet summoned a fellow state patrol trooper to bring a drug-detection canine. While he waited for the dog, Respet had a Cloquet police officer transport Trice and Williams to the Black Bear Casino because both men had indicated they did not want to be held roadside by the trooper, something the complaint notes they have a right to request.
When “Skippy,” the canine partner, arrived, the animal gave indicators of possible drugs on several parts of the vehicle. During a subsequent search, officers found more than 50 grams of packaged marijuana, 38.4 grams of crack cocaine, 19
ecstasy pills and 1.5 hydrocodone hydrochloride pills and a loaded pistol with three loaded magazines.
However, according to the complaint, when law enforcement officers from the state patrol, Cloquet and Fond du Lac returned to the casino, the two men had fled.
A complaint was filed in the case July 13 and a warrant issued for both men that same day. According to jail records, Trice was picked up July 16 by the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department.
Trice has at least seven criminal points on his record and had just gotten out of prison a few months ago for several felony crimes, including felony domestic assault. According to Boese, when talking with authorities at the BCA lab about the most recent forensic evidence, they indicated they were “very familiar” with Trice’s name.