A Slaughter man accused of fatally shooting two women and wounding another in 2009 at a Baton Rouge construction firm where he once worked received new attorneys Friday.
David Price, director of the Baton Rouge Capital Conflict Office, informed state District Judge Tony Marabella that his office is taking over the representation of Richard Matthews, 55, at the request of the Louisiana Public Defender Board.
Matthews, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted first-degree murder, was represented by the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Defenders Office. Fred Kroenke, a veteran lawyer in that office, was serving as Matthews’ lead attorney.
The state board recently denied Kroenke’s application to continue handling capital murder cases.
The board also rejected local public defender Scott Collier’s application to serve as lead counsel in capital cases. Collier also was representing Matthews.
In any capital case in which a defendant is found to be indigent and his attorneys are appointed by a court, the Louisiana Supreme Court has determined that the defendant must have two attorneys certified to handle capital cases — one designated as lead counsel and the other as associate counsel. Capital, or first-degree murder, cases are cases in which the death penalty is a possible punishment.
The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office intends to seek the death penalty in Matthews’ case.
Mike Mitchell, director of the parish’s Public Defenders Office, has said his office does not have enough capital case-certified lawyers to handle its caseload of capital cases.
Matthews is accused of killing Grady Crawford Construction Co. clerical workers Dianna Tullier, 44, of Walker, and Cheryl D. Boykin, 55, of Denham Springs, on Dec. 23, 2009. He had been fired from the Greenwell Springs Road firm several months earlier.
One of the five attempted murder counts accuses Matthews of trying to kill Trey Crawford, a son of the owner of Grady Crawford Construction. Trey Crawford was not at the business when Matthews arrived that afternoon but allegedly was the intended target, District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said.
An affidavit of probable cause says Matthews told a deputy he “did not mean to shoot anyone other than the owner’s son.’’
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