Jestila’s Houghton trial delayed

MARQUETTE – The Houghton trial of a former Marquette business owner has been postponed.

Houghton’s Michael Jestila, in court on drug offenses, is now slated to stand trial in Houghton County Circuit Court beginning April 15.

The 47-year-old Jestila, former owner of Backroom Multi-Entertainment in Houghton, is charged with possession of 50 to 449 grams of cocaine, heroin or other narcotics, a 20-year felony.

According to the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette, Jestila’s lawyer David Gemignani said Friday that he needed the additional time to review the complicated issues related to the case.

Gemignani also filed a request for the original search warrant used in the 2011 sweep of Jestila’s store.

During that search, police seized dozens of packets of materials that they say tested positive for chemicals commonly found in bath salts, as well as hallucinogenic mushrooms. A scheduling conference is set for Jan. 20.

Jestila’s former lawyer Timothy Quinnell withdrew from the case in December.

In April of 2012, Jestila reached a plea deal with Marquette County authorities that banned him from ever again doing business in the county.

Under the agreement, a criminal charge, a nuisance complaint and a pair of forfeiture actions against Jestila were dropped. In exchange, Jestila’s Marquette store, Backroom Obsessions, was closed and Jestila is prevented from ever again operating a retail business in the county. Additionally, a $20,000 bond he paid to the Marquette City Police Department was forfeited.

During a December of 2011 search of the Marquette store, police seized about 1,000 items, including numerous packets of suspected controlled substances. A chemical analysis of the substances identified them as JWH-250 and pyrovalerone. Both are Schedule I controlled substances.

Jestila was charged with one count of unlawful delivery and manufacture of JWH-250, a seven-year felony. JWH-250 is a common ingredient in synthetic marijuana.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.