Jackson attorneys ask off capital case

A second team of attorneys told a judge Friday that it wants to withdraw from representing a man accused in the September 2010 home-invasion killing of Alexandra Engler and wounding of her young daughter, Ariana, in their Beauregard Town residence.

The Baton Rouge Capital Conflict Office, which took over Aramis Jackson’s case from the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Defender’s Office in December 2011, contends it has a conflict of interest with another capital murder case that it is handling in Baton Rouge state court.

David Price, director of the Capital Conflict Office, told state District Judge Tony Marabella that the other case is that of Courtney Williams, 22, who is accused of bursting into a north Baton Rouge home on Sept. 10, 2011, and fatally shooting a former girlfriend — Clarissa Cobbing — and two other women.

Marabella said Friday during a status hearing in the Jackson case that he does not believe there is a conflict, but he scheduled a hearing Feb. 14 on the Capital Conflict Office’s motion to withdraw as Jackson’s counsel.

Ariana’s father, John Adriani, attended Friday’s hearing and said afterward he is not concerned about the latest development in the case.

“As long as he’s in Parish Prison, he’s not going anywhere,” Adriani said of Jackson. “Until he’s had his fair trial, he’s stuck there.”

Adriani also said his daughter is doing “phenomenal.”

Bonnie Hunt, the mother of Alexandra Engler and grandmother of Ariana, also was at the hearing.

Jackson, 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 24, 2010, shooting death of Engler, 42, and attempted first-degree murder in the wounding of Ariana, who was 9 at the time and shot multiple times. She is now 11.

Williams is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty.

In documents filed at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse, the Baton Rouge Capital Conflict Office says Jackson’s father — Percy Dyer — is a potential witness in the Jackson case and also is involved in the case against Williams. Dyer is the father of Cobbing’s juvenile child, who is the victim of two alleged kidnappings and an alleged attempted aggravated arson — all allegedly committed by Williams, the BRCCO states.

The BRCCO represents Williams on those charges as well, the documents say.

Police have said the Beauregard Town shootings occurred during a burglary. Jackson became a suspect after the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab linked him to DNA evidence found at the Engler home, police said. Police also said witnesses identified him as the person they saw in the area shortly after the crime carrying a gun and a large flat-screen television believed stolen from the Engler home, police stated.