BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Remember the story we told you about a few weeks back about the Oak Island Fire Chief whose DWI appeal got thrown out of court? It was because the assistant district attorney handling the case was not prepared for court. Well, we've learned that the ADA may have messed up another DWI charge this week.
The case involves a man named Mark Twain Patrick, II. He's no stranger to law enforcement around the area. When we printed off his rap sheet, it was more than 25 pages long. In his latest brush with the law court papers say he was drinking and driving a stolen motorcycle, and when an officer went to pull him over, Patrick tried to run. Sounds like a cut and dry case, but the same assistant district attorney, Erin Holden, who messed up Oak Island Fire Chief John House's appeal, may have messed this one up, too.
Here's what we've learned: Patrick was charged with a DWI (he blew .04), reckless driving, stealing the bike and trying to run from police. First holden went to present evidence for the DWI charge. The officer who pulled him over reported that Patrick was driving on the wrong side of the road, wouldn't stop for blue lights and sirens, smelled like he'd been drinking and admitted he was on Percocet, but the charge got thrown out for lack of evidence.
So we move on to the other felony charges: stealing the motorcycle, trying to run from the officer and reckless driving. First paperwork shows Holden voluntarily dismissed the reckless driving charge from the lower District Court, because, according to legal experts we talked with, she thought she had a stronger case with the other charges in Superior Court. To convict Patrick on fleeing from the officer, Holden had to prove two things: first that he was driving recklessly and second that he was driving with a revoked license. Holden requested Patrick's driving record from the state, which does show it had been revoked. But here's where it gets confusing. For some reason Holden couldn't satisfy the court with enough evidence that it had been revoked, even though the paperwork clearly shows it is, so that charge got dropped down to a misdemeanor.
All in all, when this hearing started Patrick faced his fifth DWI charge and two other felony charges. But after the dust settled, all he got was a traffic ticket, three days in jail and he's now on probation.
We asked Holden's boss, District Attorney Rex Gore, to help us understand how all that happened. He e-mailed back that he would like to meet with us next week, and in the meantime, he'll review the case. But get this: While Gore's been DA, Patrick's been charged at least 30 times with everything from assault and battery to stealing a gun to hit and run. Twenty of those charges, for whatever reason, were dismissed by the DA's office before they even got to trial, so all that's on his record are two DWI's, one in Brunswick County and one in Texas, and a conviction for assaulting an officer.
Score one for Holden, though. Late this afternoon, Gore emailed us to let us know she got a DWI conviction today against a man driving a golf cart at Bald Head Island.