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Gillean trial: Witnesses confirm Stark's 'key' allegation

Posted: March 11, 2014 - 11:36am

Prosecutors called two witnesses this morning that they hope will help corroborate key witness Cameron Stark’s version of events in the Jack Gillean trial.

Stark was arrested in 2012 after being linked with a number of professors’ office break-ins at UCA. He was granted immunity by the 20th Judicial District Prosecutor’s Office shortly after his arrest, provided that he would testify that Gillean, then UCA’s chief of staff, gave him Gillean’s set of “master keys” with the understanding that Stark would use them to get into his professors’ offices to steal copies of tests. 

One of the state’s witnesses was Ryan Scott, who lived with Gillean during the period that the keys were allegedly exchanged. 

Scott testified when questioned by the prosecution that the set of master keys “was always getting passed between Jack [Gillean] and Cameron [Stark.] But when cross-examined by defense attorney Tim Dudley, he could provide no description of the keys. 

Dudley fished a key from his pocket and asked the witness if the master keys were bigger than the one in his hand or smaller. The witness said he didn’t know. He then asked the witness how many keys were on the keychain, which the witness also didn’t know. 

“It could have been 20?,” Dudley asked. 

“Sure,” the witness replied. 

There were two keys on the keychain. 

The witness also gave conflicting testimony as to whether he and ever personally given Stark the master keys, saying that he had, hadn’t, might have and couldn’t remember at different points in questioning and cross-examination. 

However, he maintained that it was his understanding that Stark regularly asked for the keys and that Gillean gave them to him, as he testified when interviewed by UCA police.

Scott was not charged in the burglaries and so was not testifying as a condition of immunity. However, another witness called on Tuesday admitted to joining Stark on several of what the two called “black ops missions” to raid professors office on the eve of tests and exams. 

Jared Santiago started UCA as a freshman in the same dorm as Stark, and the two were friends, Santiago testified, and took several classes together. Sometime in the Spring semester of 2011, Santiago said, Stark told him that Gillean had given him keys to get into offices. 

Santiago would solve the test questions and sometimes acted as a “lookout” during the burglaries, he said, but after Stark’s friendship with Gillean soured Gillean stopped giving him the keys. At one point the two went to Bill and Hillary Clinton International Airport, where Gillean’s truck was parked, hoping to find the master keys inside the truck. 

However, Santiago also testified that he never actually saw the keys change hands between Gillean and Stark. 

Dudley pointed out inconsistencies between Santiago’s testimony to investigators and his testimony on the witness stand on Tusday, asking the witness if he had been told by someone in the prosecutor’s office to change his dates to align with the prosecution’s theory of the case. 

Deputy Prosecutor Troy Braswell seemed to take exception to this, and on re-direct examination  asked the witness if he had ever done “anything at all” to influence his testimony. Santiago said that no one had unduly influenced him. 

Dudley also asked Santiago about the basic facts of his immunity agreement, and referenced Santiago’s earlier statement that testifying was difficult by asking “it’s not quite as tough as going to prison, though, is it?”

The state will call it final witnesses after the lunch recess. Check back at thecabin.net for updates. 

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