Tampa Trib: Scientology rame up attempt of Jesse Prince, Jury Hung
[NOTE: Mr. Jessie Prince was at one time the second in command of the Scientology company. After Prince fled the cult he pretty much went on with his life until many years later he discovered there was a large movement working to expose the organization as a criminal cult. Mr. Prince then came out of obscurity and started telling everyone all he knew about the cult that he himself helped build while working for L. Ron Hubbard. There is no little irony in the fact that Scientology's notoriously mental Mike Rinder comments about murders in Florida needing to be attended to. He and his fellow criminals held Lisa McPherson against her will and starved her to death over the course of 17 days. That trial is still yet to take place]
25 May 2001
Scientology critic's jury hung
The Tampa Tribune
May 25, 2001
Jurors in a misdemeanor marijuana case were unable to reach a verdict Thursday night on whether a prominent Church of Scientology critic had an illegal plant growing in his back yard.
"Everyone thinks he was set up," a juror said of defendant Jesse Prince. The man did not want to be identified.
Juror Tiffany Scurlock said the evidence showed Prince had marijuana growing in his Largo home. But Scurlock said she had a hard time with the church's involvement in the case. Private detectives working for the church shadowed Prince for months before succeeding in having him charged by Largo police with growing a marijuana plant on his deck.
"It has a lot to do with entrapment," Scurlock said. "I felt the Church of Scientology had a lot to do with setting him up. I felt he was guilty ... but there was a lot of setting up going on."
Mike Rinder, a member of Scientology's board of directors, said the church wants Prince exposed as a drug user because Prince repeatedly has testified against the church in court cases.
A former high-ranking church official turned church critic, Prince is listed as an expert witness on church doctrine in a pending civil lawsuit over the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson.
"Anybody who actually didn't have the drugs would have been acquitted," Rinder said. "Jesse Prince is a drug user, the state attorney knows he is a drug user, he's going to be tried again and we are very happy about that."
The jury, which deliberated five hours, was split 4-2 in favor of acquittal, and at one point only one juror was holding out for a guilty verdict, said the male juror who asked to remain anonymous.
The juror said no one on the panel believed the testimony of a private detective hired by the church to befriend Prince and gain entry into his home. It was that detective who turned informant and helped Largo police arrest Prince.
Other jurors declined to comment.
Pinellas County Judge Michael Andrews declared a mistrial and said a new trial date will be set at a future hearing. But Assistant State Attorney Lydia Wardell, who prosecuted the case, said it is too soon to say if her office will try again to convict Prince.
David Sommer can be reached at (727) 799-7413.
Any text written by other authors which may be quoted in part or in full within this exposure of the Scientology cult is provided according to U. S. Code Title 17 "Fair Use" dictates which may be reviewed at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html If you're an author of an article and do not wish to allow it to be mirrored or otherwise provided on The Skeptic Tank web site, let us know and it will be removed fairly promptly.E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank