Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando jury hears arguments in trial of former New Port Richey police officer

BROOKSVILLE — As a former veteran New Port Richey police officer, John Michael Nohejl is accustomed to traffic stops. On Tuesday, a jury heard what happened when Nohejl was pulled over in Spring Hill earlier this year.

The stop resulted in Nohejl's arrest on charges of drug trafficking, evidence tampering and fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement. In the first full day of Nohejl's trial in Hernando County Circuit Court, prosecutors laid out their version of what happened on the afternoon of Jan. 17.

Hernando vice detective Julio Tagliani testified that he and a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent stopped Nohejl, 35, for speeding on Deltona Boulevard. Tagliani said Nohejl refused to provide identification and drove off when he was ordered to get out of his car.

Tagliani and a Hernando patrol deputy in a marked cruiser caught up to him a block away. During a search of the Kia, investigators found one hydrocodone pill on the driver's-side floorboard. They also noticed the passenger-side window, closed during the first stop, was now open. In a front yard on that side of the road, about 100 feet behind the Kia, a deputy found a cellophane wrapper holding 27 pills that matched the one on the floorboard.

Assistant State Attorney Donald "Sonny" McCathran acknowledged during his opening remarks that no one saw Nohejl throw the pills.

"You'll see the pills yourself," McCathran said. "They're marked in a very particular way, and they all look the same."

Defense attorney Michael Kenny tried to plant the notion that Nohejl wasn't sure he was being pulled over by officers. Kenny noted that Tagliani was in an unmarked car, never identified himself as a law enforcement officer, and was not wearing the green uniform of a patrol deputy.

Kenny also noted that no fingerprints were found on the cellophane wrapper.

At the time of his arrest, Nohejl was on suspension from the New Port Richey department and had a lengthy disciplinary record, but Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti on Monday granted a defense motion to keep prosecutors from mentioning what Nohejl did for a living.

Last fall, authorities determined Nohejl had obtained hundreds of pills of oxycodone, OxyContin and diazepam and showed up to work at least one time under the influence. He was fired in February after 13 years on the force.

The trial is expected to conclude today. If convicted on all three charges, Nohejl faces up to 40 years in prison.

Hernando jury hears arguments in trial of former New Port Richey police officer 06/04/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 9:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Taste of Tampa Bay: Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market in St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Pam Prasad, who is originally from Guyana, runs Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market on 38th Avenue N in St. Petersburg with her two sons. Prasad loves to educate her customers about her food, customs and culture. The place is known for its variety of roti combinations, goat dishes and spices.

    Pam Prasad makes roti at Pam's Roti Shop at 2800 38th Ave N. in St. Petersburg. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Tampa Pig Jig lineup: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Justin Moore, more


    This year's Tampa Pig Jig will have a little bit of country and a little bit of soul.

    Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
  3. March opening planned for renovated Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park


    TAMPA — Dirt, wood and concrete filling the 24-acre Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park will become lawns, athletic facilities and dog parks by March, city officials say.

    A view from the Laurel Street bridge observation deck of the River Center that's being built at the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. Construction is underway for the renovation of the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. In Hillsborough, a social worker tasked with helping kids has troubles of her own


    CLEARWATER — As a social worker for Hillsborough County schools, Marissa Mitchell holds one of the system's most sensitive jobs, helping children navigate deeply personal family problems.

    Marissa Mitchell, recently released from Pinellas County Jail, is a social worker for the Hillsborough County public school system.
  5. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB


    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]