Judge: Some evidence in Jake’s Fireworks case may be inadmissible
Published 12:40 am Thursday, August 5, 2021
Evidence in a case involving a Nederland fireworks stand could be deemed inadmissible, according to a recent order filed by a federal court judge.
Thad Heartfield, a U.S. district court judge, admonished the prosecution and the defense in the case involving Jake’s Fireworks.
According to documents obtained by Port Arthur Newsmedia, Heartfield ordered all discovery must be turned over to the defense by Tuesday or it will be inadmissible.
In the order, Heartfield wrote the government “flagrantly ignored every discovery deadline.”
Heartfield also wrote the defense had “ample time to and opportunities to raise legitimate discovery disputes.”
Discovery is the exchange of evidence between the defense and prosecution that will be used in a trial. The defendants have until Aug. 16 to turn over evidence to the government. The deadline to file motions to suppress evidence is Aug. 17.
According to court documents, Michelle Englade, Assistant U.S. Attorney, told Heartfield that it would take approximately six weeks from July 26 for most of the defendants to receive discovery. In a recent status conference, Englade said there are approximately 900,000 pages of evidence that can take two to three weeks to download. Jury selection is expected to begin in September, and Englade said the trial would take “at least three weeks,” due to the amount of evidence and 55 witnesses.
In the status hearing, the judge also raised the possibility of administering a gag order so the case would not be “tried in the media.”
On July 15, 2020, law enforcement agencies searched Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals, which is owned by Jake Daughtry and operated out of the fireworks shop on Twin City Highway near Spurlock Road. Following the raid, the U.S. government released indictments for nine suspects on allegations that Daughtry and the other defendants knowingly distributed 1,4 butanediol for human consumption.
The chemical is more commonly referred to as BDO.
Daughtry, along with his parents Joseph Daughtry and Sandra Daughtry, were indicted on counts of drug trafficking and money laundering after the raid.
Employees Jordan Lee King, Austin Dial, Tanner Jorgensen; all of Nederland; Kip Daughtry, of Vidor, and Jesse Hackett, of The Woodlands, were also arrested and charged. Joshua Wisneant was arrested in connection with the case.
The government alleges two deaths in the United States were attributed to the chemical that was sold by Right Price Chemicals.