Cambria Calls for Mistrial in After Hours Video Case

Tod Hunter
STAUNTON, Va. — A statement by prosecutor Raymond Robertson in his opening argument in the obscenity case involving After Hours Video led defense lawyer Paul Cambria to call for a mistrial yesterday.

Speaking of the store clerk charged with selling obscenity, Robertson said, "Mr. Embrey, of his own admission, told the police investigator that Krial had hired him to sell porn and run his Staunton store." This brought an immediate objection from Cambria, who requested to speak with Circuit Judge Thomas H. Wood with the jury out of the courtroom.

"He's now told the jury an alleged statement by [Embrey] not subject to cross-examination," Cambria said. "I move you declare a mistrial."

After Hours Video owner Rick Krial, 40, and store employee Tinsley Embrey, 28, each face two misdemeanor charges of obscenity pertaining to two DVDs purchased at the store by undercover police in mid-October. After Hours Video also faces two obscenity charges. There also are felony charges pending, which may be prosecuted if the misdemeanor charges lead to convictions.

In Virginia, when defendants are being tried together a statement to police concerning a co-defendant is not admissible in court, according to attorney John Hill, who also is part of the defense team. After a 20-minute argument outside the jury's presence, Wood said, "I'm not going to declare a mistrial, but I don't know what's going to happen if you don't have the evidence you say you're going to have."

Wood instructed the jury to disregard Robertson's comment.

The jury was excused three times in less than three hours while attorneys argued legal points, and the trial was halted until Thursday morning in the middle of another objection.

Later in the day, Cambria asked investigator Mike King of the Staunton Police Department if two other stores in Staunton had been targeted by police for selling DVDs with adult content, which brought an immediate objection from Robertson. The jury was excused from the courtroom.

"They ceased after the charges were brought," Cambria said. "We think that's relevant for the jury to know."

The trial is scheduled to resume today with jurors watching the videos in question, "Sugar Britches" and "City Girls Extreme Gangbangs."