Trial date set for grandson of ex-state senator
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Saturday, January 21, 2006
TAHLEQUAH -- A trial date
was set Friday for a 22-year-old
drug suspect who has been accused of getting an easy ride
through the justice system because of his family ties.
Mark James Mahaney, the
grandson of retired longtime
state Sen. Herb Rozell, was ordered to trial April 10.
Associate District Judge Darrell Shepherd also set a motions
hearing for Feb. 24.
Mahaney, who was accompanied by his grandfather, pleaded
not guilty to possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
His felony drug case, however, had seen more than a dozen
last week. Several misdemeanor DUI
were set for
trial last week.
said the cases' sudden movement came only after media attention was focused on the
years of delays, dismissals and
a plea deal connected to Mahaney's multitude of legal troubles.
"Things are starting to happen," Patti Tate said.
Tate's son, Jessie Maize, 17,
was killed in December 2000
when a car driven by Mahaney
allegedly swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with his
Investigators allegedly never
requested a blood sample from
Mahaney, and he was never
charged in the accident.
The Tate family and others
have complained that Rozell's
influence countywide has resulted in numerous breaks for Mahaney.
A previous felony drug case
was dismissed, and a misdemeanor DUI was pleaded out
without input from prosecutors.
Rozell for 28 years was the
state senator for the Tahlequah
area. He attended Friday's arraignment but again denied
helping his grandson avoid
"There's nothing unusual
about this," he said. "Some
cases (in Cherokee County District Court) have gotten 15, 18
The felony drug count stems
from a May 2004 traffic stop. A
Northeastern State University
police officer reportedly found a
"plastic bag of white powder in
plain view" in the front of Mahaney's pickup, court records
The white powder was later
tested at a crime lab and determined to be methamphetamine,
prosecutor Donovan Dobbs said.
Mahaney's previous felony
drug arrest also allegedly involved methamphetamine. Special District Judge Jeff Payton,
however, later dismissed that
case, citing a lack of evidence.
The 2003 misdemeanor DUI
case resulted in District Judge
Mike Norman's giving Mahaney
a 60-day deferred sentence.
The plea arrangement reportedly was made without the
knowledge of the district attorney or Payton, who had been
overseeing the case.
District Judge Bruce Sewell
last week assigned the latest
misdemeanor cases to another
judge and set them for trial in
February. Payton rejected a defense motion Jan. 13 and bound
over Mahaney for trial on the
felony drug charge.
Rod Walton 581-8457