Federal inmate Derek A. Capozzi, the subject of a highly publicized two-day manhunt in April, and his court-appointed attorney, Patrick Nash of Lexington, are parting ways.
In a motion filed last week, Nash, at the written instructions of Capozzi, asked to withdraw from Capozzi's escape case and requested a new court-appointed attorney be named to represent the defendant.
On Tuesday, U.S. Senior Judge Joseph Hood granted the motion and named attorney Stephen Milner to represent Capozzi, who is accused of breaking out of a prisoner transport van in Woodford County.
"I believe that we have come to an irretrievable breakdown in our attorney/client relationship. Please notify the judge as soon as you can of this fact," Capozzi wrote to Nash in a letter dated June 3, according to the motion.
Nash, a well-known local attorney who has handled several high-profile criminal cases, said in the motion that he agreed that he and Capozzi are at odds about the handling of Capozzi's case.
Nash said that he has found Capozzi to be "an engaging and interesting client" and has had no problem working with him, but that he and Capozzi do not agree on the specifics of defense preparations. The disagreement has led to a conflict of interest under the rules of professional conduct, which, in Nash's view, precludes him from continuing to represent Capozzi, the attorney said.
Nash said Tuesday that it was his understanding that Capozzi has been involved in four court trials in the past and represented himself in two of those trials.
On April 15, Capozzi escaped from a van in which he and other prisoners were being transported, according to authorities. Capozzi was being moved from the Grayson County jail to Lexington's Blue Grass Airport for a flight out of the area after testifying at a trial. He got out of his shackles and the back door of the van as it was turning onto an exit off Bluegrass Parkway in Woodford County, according to authorities. He was arrested after two men found him behind a Versailles business.
Capozzi is serving a lengthy prison sentence for several crimes, including helping to hack the body of Aislin Silva of Medford, Mass., into pieces and burying them after a fellow mobster killed the young woman, according to news reports.
Earlier this month, Hood agreed to move Capozzi's trial on the escape charge from June 22 to Aug. 24 to give the defense adequate time to prepare. The trial is expected to last three days.
Capozzi is being held at the Federal Medical Center on Leestown Road in Lexington.