ATLANTA - Testimony from a pair of cell mates on Friday took centerstage during the Henry Mager murder trial in the Montmorency County Courthouse. The testimony of the two were part of six testimonies on the day. Dewayne Haag, currently serving time in Jackson State Prison for breaking and entering, and safe cracking, was housed in the Alpena County Jail where he shared a cell with Mager.
"We were in the same cell for two or three days," Haag said.
According to Haag, upon Mager's arrival he discussed why he was in jail.
"He was trying to gauge what was going to happen to him," Haag said. "He said he was in jail for breaking into his boss' and uncle's house. One B&E, and suspected B&E and killing his uncle."
Although the conversation took place a year ago, Hagg said Mager referred to "we" during the break-in to the home of his boss, Don Ehlers, but only referred to himself breaking into his uncle Tarry Allen Lee's home.
"Henry said his uncle was going to bring him some oxycontin that he wanted all day. He saw his uncle wasn't home, broke in and took it; he pried open a lock box and stole oxycontin," Haag said. "Then, he took his uncle's truck and parked it down the street ... When I asked if he killed his uncle, he kind of shrugged. He didn't say he did or didn't."
According to Haag, Mager said another one of his relatives recently got out of prison and could potentially be accused of murdering Lee.
"There was some kind of malice between his uncle, and I think it was his cousin. He said he would be a suspect, like he was fishing," Haag said.
Mio resident Jackie Patrick, who was housed in the Montmorency County Jail for 90 days for breaking and entering, shared a cell with Mager for a little over a week.
"Henry took a liking to me because I liked his father ... he looked out for me, I looked out for him," Patrick said.
Patrick said Mager admitted to one home invasion, and discussed with him the pending charges involving the investigation of Lee's home invasion and murder.
"He said if a gun was involved it'd be in the water and never be found," Patrick said. "That doesn't mean he did it though."
Detective Sgt. Steve Harshberger said Lee's death quickly turned into a homicide case after evidence of a forced entry at Lee's residence, which changed the complexity of the case. He said Mager later admitted to breaking into Lee's home, but consistently denied killing Lee, and possessing or knowing the whereabouts of firearms that had been used in the murder.
"Henry was an early suspect, a person of interest, but we had other names of potential suspects. However, various people were eliminated as suspects based on interviews and alibis," Harshberger said.
The trial continues on Monday in the Montmorency County Courthouse.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.