Bench trial granted in local drug case

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dr. Reno R. Cova Jr., a 64-year-old Cape Girardeau physician arrested last February on suspicion of drug charges, was granted a bench trial in his case.

Stephen C. Wilson, Cova's attorney, requested the bench trial during a case review Monday afternoon before Circuit Judge Benjamin F. Lewis. The trial was scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 21.

Cape Girardeau police arrested Cova on Feb. 16 after a search of his 40 Schonoff Lane residence, which allegedly yielded crack cocaine and several pipes.

Wilson argued to suppress the evidence recovered during the bust on the grounds that the warrant, which had been issued prior to the search of the residence, was unconstitutional.

Judge Lewis denied the motion to suppress on Aug. 10 because a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court case ruled that a warrant may be issued in anticipation of contraband being at a certain location if police can show reasonable belief it will be found.

A confidential informant working with the Cape Girar-deau police department made arrangements to deliver cocaine to Cova's residence within 10 days of the warrant, according to the application for the warrant, filed Feb. 7 and signed by Circuit Judge Gary A. Kamp.

When police arrived Feb. 16, they sent the informant in to make the sale, equipped with video and audio recording devices, according to the Aug. 10 testimony of narcotics officer Dan Seger.

In 1984, Cova was prosecuted for drug-related charges in federal court and received a sentence of six months of confinement and two and a half years of probation.

335-6611, extension 245

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