Victoria Internet Cafe gambling case reset because of illness

A case involving three people charged with running an illegal gambling operation was rescheduled Friday.

Judge Robert C. Cheshire is also considering motions to quash the indictment and dismiss the case.

Christopher Shawn Fellows, 44, of Dacula, Ga.; Paul H. Carter Jr., 78, of Fayetteville, Ga.; and Steve Marston, 60, of Maryville, Ohio, will go to trial June 2.

All three are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and laundering about or more than $200,000 from a business they operated in 2009 called the "Victoria Internet Cafe."

Attorney Tali Villafranca requested a continuance because his client, Marston, needs surgery and would not be able to travel until mid-May.

A motion to quash an indictment means the defendants want a charge thrown out because they don't think it accurately spells out what they are accused of.

For the motion to dismiss, attorney Chris Tritico argued that though the state may not have broken a computer seized by police on purpose, not having the data contained on it hurt the defendants.

The cafe sold prepaid phone cards, and the computers would show that some customers came in to buy the phone cards, not play games, he said.

Tritico, a Houston-based attorney who represents Fellows, read aloud a cashier's sworn statement about her experience working at the cafe, which he said proves the information on the computers was beneficial to the defense.

Assistant Attorney General Abbey Fowler, however, said the woman's statement differed from her grand jury testimony.

The phone cards were a sham or used as credit to gamble, she said.

Fowler and Assistant Attorney General Harry White argued the defendants have access to the names, phone numbers and addresses of thousands of customers who bought phone cards and can question them about their time in the cafe.

Fowler said the computer only contained 30 days worth of data, but Tritico maintained it kept track of customer transaction history since the cafe opened.

Tritico said the manufacturer cannot recover the data from the computer.

Victoria Attorney Brent Dornburg represents Carter.

The attorney general's office wants to prosecute the three defendants together and expects the trial to last three weeks.

Jane Ellie Lewis, 52, of Marysville, Ohio; William Sue, 61, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Frank Henderson, 47, of Victoria, were also charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and money laundering about or more than $200,000. They have a scheduling docket Jan. 13.

Henderson served as the attorney for the Victoria Internet Cafe in 2009.