After six hours of deliberation Wednesday, the jury remained deadlocked in the case of a former Friendly Market clerk.

James Maxwell Walters, 21, went into the Cleveland County courtroom facing one count of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with a Dec. 21 store raid and he left still facing that charge. 

“The district attorney told everyone during closing arguments that they provided evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, even beyond their standard, and clearly some of the jurors didn’t agree,” Friendly Market defense attorney Blake Lynch said.

Due to the mistrial, Walters, will likely appear for a jury trial in January. The second Friendly Market clerk, Cody Franklin, who is also charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, also is expected to appear for a jury trial in January.

“The facts are the facts,” Lynch said. “The facts are what they were when we started, and they’ll be what they are when it’s over.” 

The detective in charge of the investigation testified Tuesday that a resident’s complaint prompted the investigation into The Friendly Market.

“We had a citizen call and ask why The Friendly Market was able to sell bongs and glassware,” Norman Det. Rick Newell said. “After checking into the complaint, an investigation ensued and a search warrant for the business was issued.”

Lynch said this case may have started with a complaint, but there something more to it.

“There is a larger agenda to this case,” Lynch said. “I don’t know of any citizen complaint that warranted federal agents to be called in, days of surveillance to be conducted and three days of your [jury] time for a misdemeanor.”

Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney John Pevehouse said “all cases are important” and denied any political agenda. 

During the trial, Walters’ attorneys argued that the items seized could be used to smoke tobacco and herbs, not just marijuana. 

The prosecution did not agree.

“There is only one use for these items (glass pipes and bowls), and that is to smoke marijuana,” Pevehouse said. “As you heard from the officers that testified [Tuesday], anything’s possible, but what these items were designed for were for illegal purposes.” 

According to a Norman police affidavit, Walters and Franklin sold an undercover DEA agent, later identified as Eric VanGurp, “items of drug paraphernalia that totaled nearly $400. The items included a glass water pipe, small glass bowl, metal bowl, multi-colored glass pipe and two metal three-piece, one-hitter pipes.

Jacob McGuire 


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Jacob McGuire is the Crime and Courts reporter for The Norman Transcript. McGuire is currently pursuing his MPA at the University of Oklahoma.