Teen accused in Lafayette flea market shooting gets new lawyers

A 15-year-old boy charged with first-degree murder in the February killing of a flea market employee told a judge Thursday that he had changed his mind about the defense lawyers he wants to represent him.

Earl Joseph III told state District Judge Patrick Michot he wished to be defended by two attorneys hired by his parents, rather than the three criminal defense attorneys he had opted for earlier this year.

Attorneys Michael Hall, of New Orleans, and Roxell Richard, of Houston, will take over Joseph’s defense.

Hall said outside the courtroom that he and Richard have work ahead of them to prepare for the case.

“We haven’t even gotten any discovery,” Hall said, referring to the evidence gathered by prosecutors that will be used to prosecute the teen when his case comes to trial.

Joseph initially indicated in court records he wanted public defenders Jane Hogan, Thomas Alonzo and Elliott Brown, who were randomly appointed to represent Joseph.

Joseph is accused in the Feb. 2 shooting death of Michael Patin, 49, who worked at the Jockey Lot flea market off Interstate 49 near Carencro.

The defendant reportedly was with a group of teens and at least one pre-teen when most were caught and arrested after police arrived to investigate a reported theft at the market.

Joseph was not caught and was allegedly trying to steal a vehicle after police left when Patin confronted him, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

Joseph is accused of shooting Patin in the back at just after 11 p.m. Feb. 2 after Patin confronted the teen.

Joseph was arrested at his home the next morning, and was indicted Feb. 6 on one count of first-degree murder, a charge that could send Joseph to prison for the rest of his life.

The hearing Thursday was requested by Hogan, who defends juveniles. Hogan indicated in court papers that Joseph might be conflicted in his selection of lawyers.

Joseph, clad in prison orange with wrists and ankles shackled, said little in court Tuesday, answering in a low tone questions posed by Judge Michot.

Joseph’s parents hired Hall on March 20, Hogan said in court papers.

“When questioned by his public defenders, Earl Joseph expressed that he wanted to be represented by his three public defenders and not the private attorneys hired by his parents,” Hogan wrote in requesting the hearing.

By Thursday Joseph had changed his mind, answering “yes sir” when Michot asked him if he wanted to release his public defenders.