The trial of Opal May, the jewelry store owner charged with robbing her own store, continued on Monday, in the New Grace County Courthouse.
The proceeding began with Doyle May taking the stand. Mr. May, the husband of the accused, was quick to assure the jury that he was neither involved in the robbery on July 8, 2015 or the transfer of funds from the store’s accounts to the Caymen Island account in his sister-in-laws name. He confirmed the store’s security system had been non-operational for almost a year, a fact known to the defendant. He also confirmed that, unbeknownst to the defendant, a backup system was in place. When questioned as to why he had withheld the information from his wife, he said, “I didn’t trust her. Random pieces of jewelry kept disappearing, nothing really expensive. She, my wife, fired two employees, but things kept coming up missing. I knew I wasn’t taking them. But … I never thought that her stealing was so extreme.”
After entering a plea of guilty to fraud and identity theft, Owen Royal, 28, testified for the prosecution. He seemed embarrassed when questioned about his two year affair with the older married defendant. He was reluctant to say he had conspired with her to obtain an equity loan on the home she shared with her husband and admitted their goal to obtain as much cash as possible to leave the country to begin a live together in the Caribbean. Although he admitted they planned to rob the jewelry store, on cross-examination he denied any prior knowledge of the activity of July 8th.
The prosecution played a video showing the defendant’s movements on that day for the jury and those in the gallery. It showed a customer leaving the store and the defendant appearing to lock the door behind him. Ms. May retrieved a gun from behind the counter. She used the handle of the gun to smash several display cases and removed objects which she put in a bag. Then Ms. May left the selling floor through the door to the office. At that point the recording was fast forwarded through six minutes. When she came back on screen she was returning through the the same door to the selling floor. She no longer carried the bag. She still had the gun in her hand and fired off three shots at objects in the store. Then she appears to unlock the door to the shop, picked the phone up and called the police.
With the admission of the security video into evidence, Ms. May was unable to offer any defense to the charge of filing a false police report. On the stand she admitted she had planned to remove loose stones from the safe at a later date before leaving with the Mr. Royal. It was not until she received a call that morning from their usual security guard, telling her he would not be able to come in, did the plan form. She admitted she told him she would call his company for a replacement, which she did not do. Ms. May referred to the death of Theresa Burkart as an unfortunate accident, “I wasn’t thinking when I ran into the street. I certainly didn’t intend to cause that poor woman her life in her attempt to avoid hitting me.”
Both sides rested their case. Closing arguments will be given on the next court date.