Former Chemical Depot Air-monitoring Chief Won't get New Trial

Former Chemical Depot Air-monitoring Chief Won't get New Trial

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A former air-monitoring chief at the Deseret Chemical Depot has been denied a new trial on charges he falsified information concerning effectiveness of air quality monitors.

U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell on Friday scheduled David James Yarbrough's sentencing for Jan. 13.

Yarbrough's attorney, Mick Harrison, in October requested Friday's evidentiary hearing that he said would present evidence that one of the government's key witnesses unfairly influenced others by discussing her testimony outside the courtroom.

Campbell heard testimony from five original trial witnesses before denying Yarbrough's motion.

Yarbrough faces five years in prison for each of the seven counts on which he was convicted.

"It's time to get this case resolved," Campbell said, cutting off a request from Harrison for additional arguments in the case.

In August, jurors convicted Yarbrough of manipulating data at the Army's Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System near Stockton, Tooele County. The falsified data made it seem that air monitors to detect potentially lethal vapors were passing tests when they were not.

A civilian employee for the Army, Yarbrough worked at the depot 40 miles southwest of Salt Lake City for 22 years, including nine as a division chief at the Oquirrh Mountain Facility Plant, a research and development plant that tests chemical agent destruction methods. The Army's incinerator used to destroy chemical agents is in another facility at the depot.

Yarbrough was the head of the monitoring section when the plant was undergoing baseline tests on air monitoring equipment.

During trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott J. Thorley charged that Yarbrough wrongfully manipulated the system. The government claimed figures were changed and records vanished.

Among the witnesses who testified Friday was Patti King, the government witness at the heart of Harrison's motion. The defense attorney maintained that King was seen in the courthouse cafeteria reviewing a regulation book that was central to the trial with co-worker Kevin Draper.

Draper admitted bringing the book to the courthouse, saying he planned to review it so he would be prepared when testifying. However, both he and King said they did not discuss the book beyond King's question of why Draper had the material with him.

Others testified they saw the two together in the cafeteria, with the book lying on the table between them, but said they could not hear what they were saying, nor could they remember seeing them turn pages in the book or reading portions of it together.

King and Draper said prosecutors told them several times prior to the trial not to discuss their testimony with other witnesses, and Campbell said she believed they heeded the warnings.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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