Decision in Henning case delayed
Defense says Muszynski didn’t provide all evidence
ALPENA — A former Alpena High School custodian, who’s already had a long list of drug-related charges against him bound over to circuit court, must wait to see if an additional charge possessing child sexually abusive material will head toward trial.
Scott Henning, 29, was arrested and charged with 13 counts, including operating a drug lab, maintaining a drug house, delivering ecstasy, and felony possession of a firearm. Thursday’s preliminary examination, at which a judge decides if there’s enough evidence for a case to proceed toward trial, had to do with more than 100 photos police said they found on a device while searching for evidence in the drug case at Henning’s home.
But Judge Thomas LaCross called a wrap to Thursday’s proceedings after learning the prosecution had not shared the entire Michigan State Police investigative report with the defense.
State Police Det. Brian Baumgartner uncovered the photos and submitted six of them as evidence, some going back as far as 2012. He said during cross-examination by defense attorney Alan Curtis that, although he was able to retrieve many photos, he had no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Henning had saved, deleted, or viewed the pictures of the young females or how many people had access to the computer on which those photos were found, because it wasn’t password-protected and there were signs people other than Hennings used it.
Late in the hearing, when Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski went to ask several follow-up questions to Baumgartner, she referenced a statement in the detective’s report that Curtis said the prosecution didn’t provide him.
The report Muszynski had was 86 pages long, while Curtis only had 10 pages.
After Curtis protested the question and not having the same report, LaCross questioned Muszynski on why she hadn’t shared it.
Muszynski said statute forbids sharing photos or videos considered child pornography, but she added that she had provided Curtis an opportunity to view the full report in her office.
LaCross said that, to be sure Henning was being represented fairly, the hearing needed to be delayed.
“Before we get back together again, you guys need to get together and get this figured out,” LaCross said. “This is brand-new evidence you want the witness to comment on, and the defendant has a right to review it.”
Curtis said that, if the photos in question were redacted, the report could be shared with him. Muszynski said she intended to contact Baumgartner and have him redo the report minus the photos.
There was no date set to when the hearing would resume.
Henning formally resigned from his Alpena Public Schools position in September.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.