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Man defending himself in Superior Court says police 'can't prove' he possessed drugs

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 11. 2018 10:32PM

MANCHESTER — Life was not going well for Dwayne Reddick early last year. First he was shot in a home invasion. Then police got a warrant for his apartment and found 5 1/2 ounces of crack cocaine in a safe there.

On Tuesday, his trial on a single charge of possession with the intent to distribute began in Hillsborough County Superior Court North.

Acting as his own lawyer, Reddick told the jury during his opening statement that police won’t be able to prove that he possessed the drugs.

“To be honest with you, I’m nervous, scared, anxious,” he said. “I’m the sole person of color in this courtroom, that’s my fear here, but I don’t want this to be about race.”

According to testimony and opening arguments, Reddick was outside his apartment at 367 Spruce St. in Manchester in January of 2017 when two people dressed in Tyvek suits confronted him and ordered him up to his third-floor apartment.

He tried to slam the door on them when he crossed the threshold when a gun fired and he was wounded in his hand.

Police arrived, and he refused to let them search his apartment. At the hospital, he did not want to turn his clothes over to police officer Cheryl Trudeau, who told him that evidence of the assault, such as blood or hair fibers of his attackers, could be on the clothes. He complained that police were corrupt and could not be trusted, Trudeau said.

She eventually took the clothes and found a small amount of crack cocaine in a pants pocket. That led to a search warrant, and police found the drugs in the safe.

“He said he knew nothing of the drugs in the safe; he was a heroin addict,” said the prosecutor, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Andrew Ouellette.

Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown told the jury he will give Reddick a little leeway because he is not a lawyer. He also told them not to hold it against Ouellette if he objects during questioning.

“For lack of a better term, it’s a little funky when you have a pro se (defendant),” Brown said.

According to opening arguments, much of the case will deal with what possession entails. Ouellette said the state does not have to prove that Reddick owned the drugs, merely that they were there, he had custody of them, control of them and intended to sell them.

But Reddick told the jury that the evidence is circumstantial and pointed to a pitcher of water on a table. Just because it is on the table where he sits does not mean he possesses or controls the water, Reddick said.

“I did get shot. That doesn’t mean I possessed the drugs,” Reddick said.

Ouellette expects he can wrap up his case today. Reddick did not give the jury a timetable. He is being assisted by defense attorney Roger Chadwick Jr.

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