Assistant DA: New Pittman Trial Unlikely
By DAYNA WORCHEL
A man convicted in July 2010 in the Mineola child sex ring case has a hearing set for Aug. 2 in the Smith County 241st District Court.
But Dennis Boyd Pittman, 49, who received a life sentence on a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity for his alleged role in the 2005 incidents known as the "Mineola Swingers Club" cases, will probably not receive a new trial, Mike West, Smith County assistant district attorney, said last week.
The cases involved a young group of siblings who allegedly danced and performed sex acts before a paying adult audience.
Pittman, whose case is now on appeal before the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler will have the hearing because the district court has been unable to locate a disc containing the testimony of a witness, Margie Cantrell, from the previous trials of two other defendants, Shauntel Mayo and Jamie Pittman, according to the July 17 order from the appeals court.
"During trial, Appellant (Dennis Pittman) asked the trial court to take judicial notice of the testimony of Margie Cantrell during two previous trials. That testimony is not included in the appellate record," the order from the appeals court stated.
The hearing will "determine the status of the missing portions of the record," according to the order.
West said that "a defendant is only entitled to a new trial if a portion of the record is permanently lost or destroyed and the record is 'necessary to the appeal's resolution.' But this rule only applies if the lost exhibit or record cannot be replaced or duplicated in some way," he said.
West said he thought the transcript could
be easily duplicated and sent to the appeals court.
The victims in the cases include three siblings, who at the time were a 7-year-old girl, a 6-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl.
Six of the defendants involved in the 2005 incidents, Sheila Darlene Sones, Jamie Pittman, Patrick Kelly, Shauntel Mayo, Rebecca Pittman and Jimmy Sones pleaded guilty to charges of injury to a child, a third-degree felony, in the 241st District Court in May 2011. The punishment range for that crime is two to 10 years, and they were credited for time served and released shortly after the plea hearing.
Dennis Pittman was not eligible to participate in that plea because his case has been pending before the appeals court. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years.
Attorneys representing Dennis Pittman and the Smith County District Attorney's Office also presented oral arguments before the 12th Court of Appeals court in May about the admissibility of certain video tapes, which showed interviews of two of the young children named in the indictments of the seven defendants.
Elizabeth DeReiux, Pitt-man's attorney, said during those arguments that the 241st District Court had ruled that some of those tapes of the children had been screened during prior cases. The appeals court has not yet ruled on the admissibility of the videotapes containing the child interviews.