A felony drug case against three Gainesville residents was moved on to Hall County Superior Court after a Wednesday morning committal hearing in which the suspects represented themselves.
Harold Gilbert, 36, and Nikki Lasher Roulhac, 30, both face charges of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of hydrocodone with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Myron Joshua Dooley Jr., 55, of Gainesville, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin, possession of hydrocodone, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
All three defendants represented themselves at the hearing, a situation Magistrate Judge David Burroughs noted was “somewhat problematic,” before he carefully explained to them judicial procedure for the hearing.
Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad Agent Jeff Schull, lead investigator in the case, testified for the prosecution, explaining how investigators obtained evidence to arrest the suspects using criminal informants for controlled buys and surveillance of the apartment at 1627 Lenox Park Place in Gainesville.
After executing the warrant Jan. 2, agents located and confiscated quantities of cocaine, heroin, hydrocodone, methamphetamine and marijuana, Schull said.
They also seized packaging materials, digital scales, more than $7,000 and five loaded firearms, including four handguns and one shotgun.
Many times during the hearing, the defendants challenged the original basis of the search warrant — an issue the judge said was not pertinent in a committal hearing.
“That’s for another day, and another time,” Burroughs said. The only legal issue at hand was determining if there was probable cause, or evidence to cause more than a mere suspicion, to send the case to Superior Court, he said.
Appearing somewhat exasperated, Roulhac tried to present evidence to dismiss the charges against her.
“I am trying to keep my composure,” she told Burroughs. “But half of the things (Schull) said under oath were a lie.”
Burroughs said no continuance would be granted, as Schull was present and ready to testify.
“Respectfully, it would have been incumbent upon you to, if you had been denied, or if you announced at first appearance that you were going to hire your own attorney, it would have been incumbent on you to secure counsel to be here today, so I’m not going to postpone the hearing as the state has a witness here,” he said.
Roulhac said the judge did explain “everything down to a ‘T,’” and Gilbert interjected, “But he would not address the search warrant, and they know the search warrant is an issue,” he said.
After the hearing, Roulhac and Gilbert told The Times that they applied for indigent defense during a first appearance on Jan. 3 and were denied on Jan. 9.
“We were forced to represent ourselves because we were denied attorneys,” Gilbert said.
“They denied us. We have the letter of denial. It didn’t specify anything,” Roulhac added.
Burroughs said that “generally speaking, if you have income or assets that exceed a certain amount, you are denied indigent defense.”
On Jan. 9, additional charges of second-degree forgery were added for Gilbert and Roulhac. They were rebooked and posted bond on Monday. Gilbert and Roulhac had with them three debit cards, two of which belonged to persons who were in prison, said Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks.
Roulhac said she tried to secure pro-bono representation, but so far has been unsuccessful.
A date will be set for their appearance in Superior Court and mailed to the defendants, Burroughs said.
In the meantime, they are reapplying for indigent defense, Roulhac said.
“It normally takes 30 days to even be considered again for indigent defense. But she’s going to give us seven days to work on our packets. When you’re denied you get a packet, and you have to go search for legal defense, etc.,” she said. “We have seven days to work (on) the package. Then after that, we just might have legal defense.”