Although it has the technology, Carroll County will have to wait to conduct its first court via Skype after the defense expert set to testify Wednesday asked for a postponement.
Al Yanovitz, an expert on voice recognition, told the attorney for defendant Stanley O. Shyngle on Wednesday morning that he did not feel comfortable testifying but did not elaborate, defense attorney Andrew Ucheomumu said.
Shyngle, 23, of Randallstown, is charged with armed robbery of the Panera Bread in Eldersburg on Aug. 26, 2014, according to court records. A former employee, Shyngle was identified by his voice by the victims.
Yanovitz is expected to testify that prior familiarity with a speaker does not later impact recognition of their voice. Wednesday's hearing was to question Yanovitz about his field of study and to determine whether it had been sufficiently vetted by the scientific community.
Assistant State's Attorney R. Aron Benjamin said Yanovitz was an active participant in Tuesday's test run of the technology and even offered suggestions about the best place for attorneys to stand when addressing him.
"I think the reasonable assumption is that as of 4 o'clock yesterday, he was prepared to testify," Benjamin said.
The postponement of the hearing might disrupt scheduling in the case. A five-day jury trial set for June was postponed in March and reset to begin Aug. 11. In addition to the rescheduled hearing on Yanovitz's testimony, at least one more pretrial motions hearing has been contemplated by the parties.
On Wednesday, Benjamin said he is not sure at this point whether all of the pretrial matters can be settled in time for the jury trial date. A hearing on the prosecution's expert witnesses, scheduled for Thursday, might still go forward.
"I do not want to postpone this trial," Judge Fred S. Hecker said Wednesday, instructing the parties to coordinate and find the soonest possible date for a new hearing.