LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) — The prosecution in the capital murder case against Mason Sisk is asking the court to bar any talk of “drugs” in the Sisk home as the case is set for trial Monday.
Sisk is charged with capital murder in connection with the fatal shooting of five of his family members in Elkmont in September 2019. Sisk, who was 14 at the time of the killings, is set to go on trial on April 17. His first trial ended in a mistrial after prosecutors informed the court that a crime lab had cracked open the password to Sisk’s mother’s cell phone during the trial, prompting Limestone County Circuit Judge Chad Wise to declare a mistrial.
A motion in the case, filed on Tuesday, asks the court “to prevent Mason Sisk (“the Defendant”) from discussing the issue of “drugs” at or being removed from the Sisk house in voir dire, opening statement, questioning of witnesses, closing argument, and argument by counsel to the Court on objections.”
The motion says that during Sisk’s previous trial, the defense obtained testimony from a witness saying Mary Sisk, Mason Sisk’s mother and one of the victims in the case, told them that she had called the police and had drugs removed from the Sisk home prior to the killings. The prosecution said the defense also mentions testimony from another witness who said that Mason’s father John Sisk, who was also killed, had a quantity of drugs in his possession.
The motion does not name the two witnesses who gave the testimony during the first trial, but a Sisk family friend named John “Gator” Paddie, hosted the Sisks at his Florida home on the weekend before the killings. His wife Angela Paddie also testified during the trial.
Gator testified that Mason’s father John may have been in trouble regarding drugs. During a time that the jury was out of the courtroom, he told the court that “John told him he had a large amount of drugs in the house, Mary had them removed, so he owed a lot of money to someone.” Angela Paddie testified Mary Sisk had told her she called the “cops” who came and took the drugs away.
The prosecution argues the defense should not be allowed to elicit testimony about drugs. The motion argues that the witnesses do not have personal knowledge of the drugs in question making it hearsay that does not fall under any applicable hearsay exemptions.
The second argument is that the testimony pertaining to John Sisk having drugs would be inappropriate character evidence against a victim in the case. The prosecution argues that while character evidence about victims is generally not allowed it can be admissible if it pertains to a specific character trait the person had a reputation for having. The issue, according to the motion is that drug possession is a specific bad act and therefore does not fall under the relevant exemption.
Prosecutors also argue the testimony is irrelevant, immaterial and that any value it may have is substantially outweighed by its prejudicial nature.
The defense raised questions during the trial about whether the killing of the family could have been tied to the drugs that John Sisk had been given but then had taken away.
The prosecution argues that the testimony is not relevant to the central question of the case saying: “The testimony regarding Mary Sisk telling a witness that she had contacted the police and had “drugs” that belonged to victim John Sisk removed from her house sometime prior to the homicides is not “of consequence” to the matter before the Court in this trial, i.e., whether the Defendant is guilty or not guilty of these five (5) homicides.”
Gator also testified that a 9mm handgun he owned went missing at the end of the Sisk Family’s visit leading both families to search for it. He later identified the gun prosecutors said was used in the killings as his stolen handgun, but said he was not sure who had stolen it.
As of Thursday, there a judge has not responded to the prosecution’s motion.