[Defense attorney Jon] Sinn called the prosecution "mean-spirited" in closing arguments delivered Tuesday, and said prosecutors used Gaspar's methadone prescription as a way to "dirty him up" in the eyes of the jury in a desperate attempt to secure a conviction for the death of a law enforcement officer.
"Folks out there are getting help for their addiction, and now [prosecutors] are making it seem like [methadone] is unsafe to drive on," Sinn said. "The impairment thing is a red herring. It's not true, and I think you know it's not true."
An attorney for Gaspar, Jonathan Sinn, filed a motion Friday to a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge asking for a bond reduction citing Gaspar's upbringing in Cleveland. Sinn also cited a letter from a doctor who said was on prescription drugs at the time of the crash and not an illegal substance.
"When the present case commenced, it was widely reported that Mr. Gaspar was under the influence of illegal drugs; however, that was not the case," Sinn wrote. "Dr. [Richard] DeFranco had Mr. Gaspar’s blood tested the day after the incident at hand, and reported that the drug screen was negative for all drugs of abuse and contained only his prescribed therapeutic dose of methadone."
The officers who spoke to Gaspar immediately following the crash suspected he was impaired.
"Gaspar's eyes were constricted, his voice was low and raspy and he seemed confused about details being described to him," the prosecutor's filing says.
Gaspar failed on-scene sobriety tests — including a nystagmus test, a walk and turn test, a one-leg stand test and the finger-to-nose test, according to prosecutors.
Defense attorney Jon Sinn said Gaspar was not under the influence on any drugs and test results prove his contention.
“Josh is clean. Josh is sober. Josh got into an accident and that can happen to anyone,” Sinn said. “While our hearts go out to the trooper, at the end of the day, it’s not right to penalize Josh for something that's nothing more than a tragic, tragic accident.”
Channel 3 News has obtained a copy of the Sept. 19 letter from Dr. Richard DeFranco, who examined Gaspar a day after the crash.
“[Gaspar] was understandably upset….He was not intoxicated,” DeFranco wrote.
He added that Gaspar was tested for illegal drugs, as usual, during the Sept. 15 visit.
“…and this drug screen was negative for all drugs of abuse tested for. It was positive only for his therapeutic dose of methadone,” the doctor concluded.
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