WHEELING - After months of legal jostling and repeated attempts to avoid the witness stand, Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith testified in the case of Robin Reed Thursday, saying he never authorized a police detective to offer Reed a plea agreement if she passed a lie detector test.
Reed, 21, of Wheeling is charged in the January 2011 death of her 1-year-old son. Defense attorney Don Tennant Jr. is seeking equitable relief after Wheeling police Detective Greg Harris told Reed passing a polygraph examination would "clear" her. She passed the exam, but was nonetheless indicted by the September grand jury.
Smith said Harris made him aware of Reed's willingness to submit to a polygraph and her subsequent passing of the exam, but he never authorized the detective to offer a plea agreement that was contingent upon the exam's outcome.
Photo by Tyler Reynard
Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith testifies in circuit court Thursday.
"What I recall is (Harris) indicated to me that (Reed) was willing to take the polygraph and I said, 'OK,' ... and then (Harris) informed me about the results," Smith said.
Reed took the exam in April 2011 after allegedly providing Harris conflicting accounts of the events leading up to her son's death.
"But I would really like you to come in and (take a polygraph). That way, if you're telling the truth now, this will clear you. No problems. All right," Harris told Reed during an interview at Wheeling police headquarters.
"Did you expressly authorize Detective Harris to make that offer to Miss Reed?" Tennant asked Smith Thursday.
Smith responded, "Absolutely not."
A polygrapher ultimately determined Reed's denial of questions of whether she physically caused her son's injuries to be "not deceptive."
Tennant cited an unrelated case in which Smith's office agreed to dismiss felony charges against a defendant if that defendant passed a polygraph. Smith said he did not personally authorize that agreement and his office maintains no specific policy regarding the utilization of polygraph exams.
The facts of every case are unique, he continued, and are handled accordingly.
Smith was the only witness called Thursday, and Mazzone's ruling on Tennant's motion for equitable relief is pending.
The case became protracted following Tennant's subpeona of Smith. The prosecutor moved to quash the subpeona, which was denied, then refused to take the witness stand during a March hearing.
Smith then attempted to have Tennant disqualified from the case, which Mazzone also denied prior to Thursday's hearing.
Reed's trial on charges of death of a child by parent and child neglect resulting in death is scheduled for June 4.
If convicted, she faces 13-55 years in prison.