04/03/13 Suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield lost his bid Wednesday to invalidate the search warrant used to find alleged stolen goods on his property, a search that has led to several criminal charges.
The confidential informant for the search warrant was John K. Franklin, who died in a motorcycle accident following a police chase last year and had a lengthy criminal record, according to court testimony during the 45-minute hearing. But Franklin’s criminal past wasn’t enough to persuade North Carolina Superior Court Judge Richard Boner to rule the Nov. 1, 2011 search as invalid.
“The application submitted for the search warrant is sufficient to establish probable cause," the judge ruled, later adding, “(Franklin’s information) was but one factor to be considered."
If Mayfield had won his motion Wednesday, the charges most likely would have been dropped because the search uncovered evidence used to indict Mayfield, who was suspended by NASCAR in May 2009 for a failed drug test that Mayfield still disputes.
Mayfield faces five felony charges in Catawba County and four in nearby Caldwell County from the Nov. 1 search. The charges total more than 27 years in prison but the maximum sentences are highly unlikely.
The search resulted in one charge of possession of methamphetamine, three possession of stolen goods charges, one charge of obtaining property under false pretense and four larceny charges.
Some of the items found on Mayfield’s former 400-acre property were from burglaries reported by Red Bull Racing and Fitz Motorsports. Other items were furniture items from DEA Ventures.
The search was conducted after a 20-day investigation following information given to authorities by Franklin, according to testimony from Catawba County Sherriff’s Department Lieutenant Aaron Kirk, the only witness during the 45-minute hearing.
Franklin’s own home was being searched Oct. 12, 2011, and at that time he began giving up information about robberies, including those of Red Bull Racing and Fitz Motorsports that Franklin said he participated in with Mayfield and others, Kirk stated during the hearing.
Kirk said that there were no promises of leniency for Franklin, whom Kirk admitted had a lengthy criminal record that included a plea agreement to a drug charge.
Kirk verified the information Franklin gave him through police reports of the burglaries. He did not use any other witnesses.