Mistrial motion denied in mortgage trial

Defense attorneys in the mortgage-flipping trial in Hattiesburg federal court asked the judge to declare a mistrial.

Attorneys for Richard Lucas, Kim Castle and Kenneth Stalnaker cited testimony by government witness Janet Chapman during the first week of the trial. Chapman broke down on the stand and because she was unable to return the defense argued she could not be cross-examined.

Judge Keith Starrett overruled the motion, instead telling the jury to disregard Chapman's testimony.

The government called two witnesses Monday. Hattiebsurg real estate appraiser Stan Lightsey testified that appraisals done by Stalnaker on property bought by Philip Weary in his opinion were inflated. And IRS agent Tracy Dudley testified on her findings during an investigation of 40 homes involved in the mortgage-flipping scheme. She concluded that 94 percent of the properties showed an increase in cost compared to the resale value, and that the turnover from sales on properties averaged on about two weeks.