Teen gets probation in lie to police

July 15, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A 19-year-old Manchester woman who was convicted of lying to state police investigators that she witnessed a trooper using cocaine was sentenced yesterday to 90 days in the Carroll County Detention Center.

Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold immediately suspended the sentence and placed Stacy Lee Gardner on three years of supervised probation.

Gardner was convicted June 2 on one count of making a false statement to a police officer after entering into a plea agreement with the State's Attorney's Office.

By pleading not guilty and allowing only a statement of facts to be read into evidence, Gardner had a second charge of making a false statement dropped.

According to court records, she presented a tape-recorded statement to Sgt. James M. Leete and to officers of the Maryland State Police Internal Affairs unit.

The tape said that on Dec. 7, 1991, Tfc. Douglas Reitz of the Westminster barracks took Gardner into Baltimore, where he was said to have purchased cocaine.

The tape further said that both Trooper Reitz and Gardner returned to the trooper's home, and that she watched him "snort the cocaine," court records say.

In addition to the taped statement, Gardner gave Sergeant Leete a hand-drawn diagram of the position of furniture in the basement "where the snorting of the cocaine" was to have taken place, records show.

She also described a box in which Trooper Reitz was said to store drug paraphernalia.

A day before Gardner gave the tape to police, she called Sergeant Leete and told him she had observed Trooper Reitz driving his marked state police cruiser. She said he went into a home next door to hers and purchased marijuana.

Gardner's allegations led to internal and criminal investigations of Trooper Reitz. Both investigations cleared the trooper of any allegations of drug use.

The investigations showed, among other things, that Trooper Reitz's basement was used for storage and laundry and that Gardner's description of furniture was inaccurate, the court records show.

Interviews with the trooper's wife and parents -- with whom he lives -- also showed that Gardner's story was inaccurate, court records show.

A search of the trooper's home turned up no drugs or drug paraphernalia, records show.

The investigations, which cost the state police $1,500, led to Gardner's arrest on Jan. 31. She was placed on $10,000 bond and allowed to post $1,000 to remain free before trial.

In addition to the three years of probation, Gardner was ordered by Judge Arnold to reimburse the state police for their investigations.

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