By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Jailed Wendell Blount and his current lawyer agree he should get new counsel.
Blount, 60, of Calhoun County has been held in the Lafayette Detention Center about six months since U.S. marshals returned him from a sudden trip he took to Louisiana to avoid being sentenced in a fatal Natchez Trace mishap.
In a hand-written letter to U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper on Monday, Blount complained that his Oxford attorney, David Hill, refuses to work with him as he seeks a new trial.
Tuesday, Hill asked the court to allow him and his firm to withdraw as Blount’s attorney of record, saying his client failed to pay him what they agreed, which forced him to pay “substantial” trial expenses before Pepper in April 2010.
Hill told the court he’s “extremely distrustful” of Blount, whom he said has made “numerous false statements” to him about his ability to pay.
“I have never paid Mr. Hill one cent because I had, nor have, any cash, or assets to pay him with,” Blount’s letter stated. “Mr. Hill knew that from the beginning.”
Both ask Pepper to appoint a public defender to work with Blount.
A Greenville jury found Blount guilty of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter under the influence of morphine in the death of Dutch cyclist Esther Hageman. She was riding toward Jackson in Chickasaw County when Blount’s SUV struck and killed her.
Before he could be sentenced, Blount took off from house arrest and was gone for months before he was arrested and returned to Oxford.
Last March, he began asking the court to appoint another lawyer.
Blount faces up to 33 years in prison but has not been sentenced.