Trial Date Set For After Hours Video Obscenity Case

STAUNTON, Va. - The Staunton News Leader reports that a trial date has been set in the case of a store owner and a store employee indicted on multiple obscenity counts.

In October, undercover agents purchased DVDs at After Hours Video. On November 1, store owner Rick Krial and his company LSP of Virginia were indicted on 16 felony and 8 misdemeanor obscenity counts. On January 22, a grand jury indicted Krial's employee, Tinsley W. Embrey, on six felony and four misdemeanor obscenity counts.

In a circuit court hearing this morning, attorneys and the presiding judge set a date of June 17 for the trail. Prosecutors also agreed during the hearing to press charges for only two of four videos originally slated for examination in the upcoming trial in order to limit the time jurors will have to spend watching them.

As a result, Krial, Embrey and LSP of Virginia will each face two misdemeanor counts when the trial begins.

An additional motion hearing will be conducted May 27.

According to the News Leader, the defense requested that all of the obscenity counts be tried in one case. However, prosecuting attorney Ray Robertson said this would require jurors to watch 24 hours of pornography.

Robertson told the News Leader after the hearing that watching this much pornography might upset and anger a jury. He also voiced concern that the jury could become desensitized to porn, saying, "If you watch 24 hours of straight porn it loses its impact."

Krial's defense attorney, Paul Cambria Jr., argued that multiple trials would place undue financial burden on his client and would give the prosecution what he called "several bites at the apple."

Cambria told the News Leader, "They decided how many movies they wanted to charge," speaking of the prosecution. "We didn't decide that."

Cambria was also opposed to having the jury base their decisions on movies that they haven't seen, noting that when he makes arguments based on a summation of all of the movies, his arguments might not be understood by the jury unless it has seen them all.

Robertson then suggested that two movies be tried in a misdemeanor trial, while prosecutors dismissed two other counts of obscenity. Two other movies would then be tried in a following felony trial, which would mean dismissing one count of obscenity, he said.

Robertson said he would decide at a later time whether to hold additional trials for the third and fourth indictments.

Staunton Circuit Court Judge Thomas H. Wood said of Robertson's proposal that it "makes all the good sense to me." The judge added that he didn't think he could approve the defense's motion to do everything in one trial.

Roberston is also undecided whether he will move forward with the felony trial if the jury finds the movies in the June 17 misdemeanor trial to not be obscene.