Judge allows murder defendant to drop private attorneys

gkocher1@herald-leader.comAugust 28, 2012 

A circuit judge has allowed a man accused of killing a Lexington dermatologist to drop his private attorneys and be represented by the public defender's office.

Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael Jr. said he would appoint someone from the public defender's office to represent Marty Roe in Roe's trial next winter.

Roe, 65, is accused of killing Dr. Martha Post, 55, who was fatally shot Sept. 1 as she was leaving her practice on Huguenard Drive. Roe was arrested in Ohio, where he apparently was living out of a camper.

Roe requested private representation in May. He initially had been represented by Shannon Brooks-English, a public defender, but Brooks-English said Roe "pulled together resources" to hire Adam Boyd Bleile and Ashley Witte of the Bleile, Witte & Lape law firm in Cincinnati.

At the time, Brooks-English told Ishmael, "People think they're better off with private counsel."

But in a handwritten note to Judge Ishmael filed in the court record on Aug. 16, Roe wrote: "I am requesting a court-appointed lawyer due to firing" Bleile and Witte and because he had "no funds to hire another attorney."

During an hourlong hearing Tuesday, Roe said he was not unhappy with his private attorneys, but issues had arisen over trust.

Roe said he was displeased that the prosecutors had indicated that they "had all this evidence" against him, but "that's a lie."

Ishmael said Roe shouldn't "shoot the messenger" if his attorneys were merely sharing with him whatever evidence the commonwealth had shared with the defense in the discovery process.

"You can't be mad at your attorneys for presenting this evidence to you," Ishmael told Roe in court, "You might say that's a bunch of — in our culture — a bunch of horse manure."

It is the job of defense attorneys "to go over that with you," Ishmael said. "You have to have an opportunity to review that evidence. They don't have any say over what evidence is turned over."

Roe then insisted that he still wanted a court-appointed attorney because "I can't afford these anymore," he said of Bleile and Witte.

Turning to the attorneys, Roe said, "If they want to work for nothing, that's fine."

After further discussion on that issue, Ishmael told Roe, "You don't have to pay them any more money for them to represent you. Nobody is looking to you for more money. Nobody is looking to your family for more money."

Nevertheless, Roe insisted that he wanted to discharge Bleile and Witte.

After Roe filled out an affidavit listing meager assets, Ishmael granted the discharge of Bleile and Witte, and he appointed the public defender's office to assume Roe's representation.

Brooks-English, Roe's original public defender, is on maternity leave until the end of October.

Roe's trial is scheduled for Jan. 22 through Jan. 31. Ishmael said he still wants the trial to start in January, and Roe said he does, too.

As Bleile and Witte got up to leave the courtroom, Roe shook hands with them.

"Thank you, guys. Appreciate it," he said.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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