A convicted sex offender told a judge Monday while he evaded police he spoke regularly with a former Albion detective.
"I had contact with people in Michigan almost every day," said Norman Pittelkow. "I had contact with him almost every day or every other day."
Pittelkow is awaiting sentencing on federal charges of producing child pornography, He testified for the second time in the preliminary examination of Luis Tejada.
Tejada, 41, of Homer, a former detective with the Albion Department of Public Safety, is charged with being an accessory after the fact and lying to a police officer. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Investigators and prosecutors have alleged Tejada assisted Pittelkow and his wife, Nicole Jacob, as they tried to avoid authorities after child pornography charges were issued last year.
Pittelkow was called several months ago by prosecutors when the hearing began, but on Monday defense attorney Eusebio Solis recalled him and asked about the two or more weeks that Pittelkow was traveling through several states. He told District Judge Paul Beadslee that he used two phones to speak to Tejada or sent him text messages nearly every day while traveling through Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
After several days, Pittelkow said "he told me to stop calling and stay off the phone for a while."
Pittelkow said he and Tejada were best friends, and Pittelkow said he had worked on Tejada's house several times. He also said he either sold insulation or loaned tools to the chief and several officers at the police department.
"I knew most of the police officers," he said.
He and Tejada often went to a bar and played pool; Pittelkow said Tejada frequently asked about other people in town.
"We were buddies and hung out and shot pool and if he had questions I would answer them," Pittelkow said. "We were best friends."
But Pittelkow admitted to Solis that he didn't spend holidays with Tejada, nor was he invited to parties or gatherings at his house.
"We weren't stuck up each other's butts all the time," he said.
The hearing was adjourned and Solis said when it resumes Dec. 15 he expects to call four or five more witnesses.
Contact Trace Christenson at 269-966-0685 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @TSChristenson