AP NEWS

Jury Acquits Scranton Man Of Threatening Informant

April 2, 2019

SCRANTON — A Lackawanna County jury found a South Scranton man not guilty Tuesday of threatening to kill a former confidential informant who cooperated with investigators in a 2013 drug case that sent him to state prison. Jurors deliberated just minutes before acquitting David Demetrius Cole, 45, of felony witness retaliation and two misdemeanor charges after a two-day trial before Judge Margaret Bisignani Moyle. City police charged Cole last summer with stalking and threatening Stacey Hubshman, who acted as a confidential informant in an investigation by county detectives that led to Cole’s arrest on drug charges in April 2013. Hubshman testified at the trial the incidents happened over a two-day period and culminated during a confrontation June 29 at Turkey Hill Minit Market on Meridian Avenue when she said Cole threatened to kill her for being a “rat.” Testifying in his own defense, Cole acknowledged calling Hubshman a “rat” during their exchange at Turkey Hill but denied threatening her. In his closing argument to the jury, defense attorney Curt Parkins zeroed in on the interaction between his client and Hubshman at Turkey Hill, which was captured by the store’s surveillance cameras, and said it essentially comes down to a case of “he said/she said.” Stopping the video at key frames as it played for the jurors, Parkins argued it did not support the prosecution narrative that Cole approached Hubshman upon entering the store and immediately accosted her. Instead, the attorney said, it supports Cole’s contention that Hubshman came up to him to apologize and he told her to leave him alone. As the two talk, the video shows everyone is going about their business, he said. “There is no indication anything is wrong whatsoever. ... Whose testimony is this video consistent with?” Parkins said. Parkins told jurors that while the prosecution would argue Cole had motive to carry a grudge against Hubshman, motive in and of itself is not proof of a crime. “What does the evidence show?” he asked. In his closing, Deputy District Attorney Drew Krowiak walked jurors through the relevant events, starting when Hubshman testified Cole pulled up in front of her home June 28 and told her she was a “dead bitch” and continuing through the Turkey Hill confrontation. Krowiak, who suggested Cole sprinkled his testimony with “bits of the truth” to try to make it more credible, urged jurors not to be distracted from the evidence. “Keep your focus on the defendant’s actions,” he said. In the 2013 case, county detectives charged Cole with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and other offenses after finding him with 12 bags of heroin and discovering 214 more bags during a search of his home in Taylor, where he lived at the time, according to The Times-Tribune files. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in December 2013 to two to five years in state prison, plus two years of probation. Contact the writer: dsingleton@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9132